Purchasing an Older Home? Make Sure to Check the Septic System!

Purchasing an Older Home? Make Sure to Check the Septic System!

When it comes to purchasing an older home, there are many factors to consider. From assessing the property’s condition to examining the surrounding landscape, each aspect is important in ensuring a wise investment. However, one component that often goes overlooked is the septic system. Neglecting to thoroughly inspect and evaluate the septic system can lead to significant issues and unexpected expenses down the line. Let’s take a look at why checking the septic system before purchasing an older home is so important.

Understanding the Septic System

In rural areas, homes are typically not connected to a municipal sewage system. Instead, they rely on individual septic systems to manage wastewater. A septic system consists of two major components: a septic tank and a drain field. Wastewater from toilets, sinks, showers, and laundry flows into the septic tank, where solid waste settles to the bottom and oils, and scum float to the top. The liquid portion, known as effluent, exits the tank and is distributed into the drain field, where it percolates through the soil, undergoing natural filtration.

Importance of Septic System Inspection

  1. Health and Safety Concerns: A malfunctioning septic system can pose serious health risks. If the system is compromised or failing, raw sewage may contaminate the surrounding soil and groundwater, potentially polluting nearby wells or water sources. This can lead to the spread of diseases and harmful bacteria.
  2. Costly Repairs: Replacing or repairing a septic system can be a substantial financial burden. Faulty tanks, clogged drain fields, or damaged pipes can result in expensive repairs or complete system replacements. By conducting a thorough inspection, potential buyers can identify any existing or potential issues and negotiate the purchase price accordingly.
  3. Compliance with Regulations: Septic systems must meet specific standards and regulations set by local health departments. Purchasing a property with an outdated or non-compliant septic system can result in legal complications and the need for expensive upgrades or modifications to bring it up to code.

Inspecting the Septic System

  1. Hire a Professional: It is highly recommended to hire a licensed septic system professional to inspect the system thoroughly. They will assess the tank’s condition, check for leaks or cracks, inspect the drain field, and determine if the system is functioning correctly.
  2. Pumping and Tank Evaluation: A septic tank should be pumped regularly to remove accumulated solids. During the inspection, the professional will evaluate the tank’s size, condition, and capacity. They will also check for signs of damage, such as cracks or leaks.
  3. Drain Field Evaluation: The drain field filters and absorbs effluent. The inspector will assess the field’s size, condition, and any signs of potential problems, such as standing water, foul odors, or unusually lush vegetation.

The septic system should not be overlooked when purchasing an older home. Neglecting to inspect the septic system can lead to significant health hazards and costly repairs in the future. By hiring a professional to evaluate the tank and drain field, potential buyers can ensure they are making an informed decision and avoiding unexpected expenses.

If you are buying a new home and want a local expert to help access your system contact us. AJ McDonald Company, Inc is a trusted, local expert to help with your septic system maintenance and pumping, call us! We have a history of satisfied customers for over 80 years. We want to be your go-to source.