While the idea of a septic tank might seem a bit strange to those who grew up within city or town limits and had a home that was serviced by the municipal sewerage pipe network, they are more common than you might think.
In fact, it’s estimated that up to one in five American homes still make use of a septic tank today.
If you’ve never owned a home with a septic tank or are purchasing a new home and want to know what to expect, here are three things you should absolutely be aware of when you purchase a property with a septic tank.
They Require Maintenance
While septic tanks, if cared for properly can last for many, many years if you take some basic precautions like not using too much bleach or other chemicals and conserving water, there is some basic maintenance that will be required periodically by a professional.
The most common of this maintenance will, of course, be emptying the solid waste, which will need to be done periodically depending on the size of the tank and how often you use the toilets or how many people live in the property.
During this emptying, the tank should also be inspected for damage, cracks or potential issues.
You can expect to pay between $200 and $400 for this maintenance, depending on where your property is situated.
Repairs are at Your Cost
Something that most people don’t consider when they make the move to a property with a septic tank is that if anything needs to be repaired it will be for their account completely.
Unlike a municipal serviced area where a blocked or damaged drain simply requires a call to the local authorities to repair if your sewage tank backs up or a pipe leaks, you’ll have to pay for the repairs.
The quicker you can identify these issues and get someone in to repair them, the more money you’ll save.
Using a reputable company to do maintenance and inspections on your septic tanks like Waste Away is advised to limit any potential issues.
The Drain Field Must be Effective
Part of a healthy septic tank is an effective drain field where treated wastewater is drained away into the soil.
If this drain field becomes affected by soil compacting, tree roots or other underground obstructions encroaching on the drain field, it can mean an ineffective drain field and that can mean expensive repairs.
Look out for soggy patches of ground where your drain field is located. When you are purchasing a property that has a septic tank, before you do anything else, you should get it inspected.
This inspection can tell you things like the last inspection, the level of sludge in the tank, the location of the drain field and a general overall inspection to check that the tank itself is both of adequate size, and that there are no cracks or leaks.
The physical connections can also be checked during this inspection.
You don’t need to get intimately familiar with your septic tank but understanding the basics will mean you’ll be able to spot issues before they arise and save on costly repairs.