What to Know About Owning a Home with a Septic Tank

Buying a Home with a Septic TankNot every homebuyer has a municipal waste system serving their home. Septic tanks are a solution for the treatment of wastewater and can be found in approximately 1 out of every 4 homes. Those buying a new home might be new to having a septic tank and may know little about how they should be installed and maintained. Understand more about what is involved with owning a septic tank to manage a home's wastewater.

Did You Know?

The majority of the waste will settle in an underground septic tank. The effluent, or wastewater located between the floatable materials and solids, will leave the septic tank, making its way into a drain field. This effluent is released into the surrounding area. A properly maintained septic tank will not contaminate the ground or surface water.

What Does the Service Schedule Look Like for Septic Tanks?

According to the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency), septic tank inspections should occur regularly. Homeowners may schedule their inspection every three years or extend it as far as every five years. Professionals will look for leaks, as well as inspect the top and bottom layers of sediment. They often recommend when to pump the tank. The frequency of pumping a tank is generally similar to that of having it serviced. The amount of wastewater generated and tank size are factors that may vary the time between pumping services.

What Are Signs of a Septic Tank Problem?

Homeowners may need professional help when certain issues occur. These problems may be due to a leak or something more serious and should be handled quickly to avoid contamination of the surrounding property. Some signs to watch for include:

  • Wastewater backup in the drains of a home;
  • An odor of sewage surrounding the property; and
  • Muddy soil around the area of the septic system.

At such times, it is necessary to contact a local professional to determine the source of the issue and service a septic tank.

What Are Other Septic Tank Considerations?

A septic tank is no reason not to buy a home. Homeowners with a septic tank need to be mindful of maintenance and not plant anything close to the area where the septic tank and system is held. Roots can interfere with a system and lead to repairs. Homeowners should also avoid:

  • Flushing items other than toilet paper and human waste;
  • Pouring grease and cooking oil down sink drains; and
  • Frequent use of any garbage disposal.

Flushable wipes, dental floss and medication that are flushed down drains may create clogs. Keep notes of all servicing as to estimate when to schedule a routine inspection of the septic system.

Buying a Home with a Septic Tank?

Homes in urban, suburban and rural areas may have septic tanks, and all homeowners with such properties are advised to schedule pumping and regular inspections. Avoid using septic tank additives as they can damage a septic system. Like a roof a home, even a well-maintained septic system will need to be replaced. However, this is not a frequent cost as a septic tank may last up to 30 years.

Before buying a Hernando home with a septic system, it is often necessary to have the septic system inspected, although this requirement may vary by state. Individuals who have never owned a property with a septic tank may want to reach out to a professional to learn more about how to maintain a septic system and when to schedule regular service.

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