Buying a Home? What You Need to Know About Its Septic System

Buying a Home? What You Need to Know About Its Septic System

21st May 2020

If you've never had a home with a septic system before, you might be concerned about purchasing a home that has one. Septic systems are great -- when they're working properly. But there could be other issues that you aren't aware of. In that respect, buying a home with a septic system is a lot like buying a home with an HVAC system; you need to know what you're getting into.

When Was the Septic System Last Repaired or Maintained?

If possible, get a complete history regarding the septic system from the current homeowner. This includes whether it's been regularly pumped -- which is essential to good septic system maintenance -- and how often its filters are changed. You should also see the repair history. If the septic system has had increasing repairs over the years, it may be nearing the end of its usable lifespan. You also want to know how old the septic system is, but if installed correctly septic systems can last a long time.

What Are the Current Water Meter Readings?

A septic system is designed for a certain capacity. You should compare your current water meter readings with the current occupant's water meter readings. If your numbers are similar or less, you may be safe. But if your numbers are significantly more, it's likely that the septic tank was not sized properly for your or your family's use. Before being able to use this septic tank system, you may need to enlarge it.

Where Is the Septic Tank?

Not only are you going to need to know where the septic tank is to avoid it, but you're also going to need to know where it is to inspect the location. Is the grass greener over the septic tank? Is it growing faster? If so, that isn't a good sign -- that means that the septic tank is pooling water.

Septic systems are fairly common and they aren't just found in rural homes. In fact, up to 25% of the homes in the United States will have a septic system, even in areas that are considered to be suburban or urban. Being unafraid of purchasing a home with a septic system can open up your options significantly... you just need to make sure that you cover all your bases.