Septic Tank Inspections: What You Need To Know

If you are planning to buy a house with a septic system, you must have the system inspected beforehand. The home's septic system is one of the most important tasks and can leave you with a major issue if it does not work properly. Finding out about problems before you close will save you a lot of money and inconvenience.

What Are Some Questions You Should Ask the Homeowner?

It can be difficult to completely inspect the tank since it is underground, unless you want to pay for excavation and risk damaging the system. The next best thing is to ask a series of questions about the system to find any clues to problems that may exist.

You first want to ask if the system has ever been pumped out, and if so, how often. This is crucial because this is one of the only things a homeowner will need to have done to ensure the tank is healthy. Ask which contractor did the job and request the records on each pumping. You also want to ask where the septic tank is located. If the homeowner does not know where the system is, chances are he or she never had it maintained. You should also ask if there have been any general septic tank issues you should be aware of and if they have been repaired.

When Should You Schedule the Septic Inspection?

The best way to schedule your septic system inspection is during your general inspection of the property. At this time, any plumbing issues found can be noted by your inspector. All the necessary paperwork and diagrams should be included as part of the inspection to know the location of the system and its age.

What Happens During the Inspection?

Once the technician arrives, he or she will look at the sanitary pipe to see what type is used and to make sure it is good condition. The water to the home will need to be running to perform this test. If there is not water flow or if it is very slow, there is an issue either in the line itself or with the home's plumbing system. The sanitary line can get cracked over time and cause the flow to be slower than it should be. At that point, the technician will move backwards through the home's pluming system to determine the cause by testing each water source. If the water in the tank increases faster than it should, there could be a problem in the tank itself. Normally, the water entering the tank should move the water out into the leach field. When the tank fills, the water is not moving downstream as it should.