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What You Need to Know before You Purchase a Home with a Septic Tank
October 14 / 2015

What You Need to Know before You Purchase a Home with a Septic Tank

Are you considering purchasing a home that has a septic system? Before you close the deal, it’s important that you understand the maintenance involved with private septic system and the costs involved for repairs.

What Is a Septic System?

A septic system is a wastewater treatment system frequently found in communities where homes may be spaced further apart and are not within the vicinity of a public sewer facility. This wastewater system is installed underground and handles the treatment and disposal of wastewater for one residence only.

What Are the Risks of Purchasing a Home with a Septic System?

Many people like the idea of a septic system because it appears to operate free of cost. Unlike public sewer systems, homeowners do not pay any one agency a fee for the upkeep and operation of the system. However, if a septic system stops working, the homeowner is solely responsible for any repair costs. These repairs can be something as simple as cleaning out a clogged main line, or they can be outrageously expensive if larger components to the system malfunction.

Common Septic Problems

At Rooter Hero Plumbing, we typically see three main problems with septic systems. Let’s take a closer look at each of the problems individually. Waste backing up into the home: For homeowners, this is the worst possible scenario in terms of cost and sanitation. When wastewater backs up into sinks, bathtubs, and toilets then overflows onto your floors, it can leave you disgusted and panicked. Hopefully, the problem can be fixed by pumping the septic tank, which is the cheapest solution. But, sometimes, lines may need to be replaced, or the tank itself may require replacement. Leach field solid waste issues: Problems with the leach field typically occur when too much liquid, in this case, enters the tank. The leach field’s job is to filter partially-treated effluent (in layman’s terms, effluent is raw sewage). When too much liquid enters the septic in a single day, a sludge layer of solid waste forms and this sludge can drain into the leach field. Instead of absorbing into the leach field, the solid waste may sit on top of your lawn creating sanitation issues. Usually, in circumstances like this, the entire septic system needs replacement. The average cost of a septic system is around $30,000, although it can be higher or lower depending on the actual system. A septic system doesn’t have to be an automatic deal breaker when you’re looking for a property. If you’re interested in purchasing a home on acreage and in a rural area, a septic system may be your only option. The key to keeping repair costs manageable is proper maintenance. Homeowners that educate themselves about their particular septic system and commit to routine maintenance will be less likely to encounter catastrophic repairs. At Rooter Hero Plumbing, we recommend that potential buyers contact a septic tank inspection service to inspect the system prior to purchasing the property. Making this a condition of your purchase contract will ensure that there are no surprises after you get the key to your new home.