If you're thinking of buying a home with a septic tank, it's a good idea to have the tank inspected before you buy the home. If the tank or drainfield is damaged, you could be looking at costly repairs. You want to know this in advance so you can get the seller to adjust the price of the home if you still want to buy it. Here are some of the things an inspector looks for:
Level Of Waste In The Tank
The inspector measures the level of waste in the tank. This gives you an idea of when the tank will need to be pumped if you buy the house. This is also a way to check for leaks. Even if the septic tank was recently pumped, it should still have a certain amount of water in it. The water fills back up quickly even though it takes the solids much longer to accumulate. If the water level is low in a septic tank, that could be a sign of a leak in the tank. If the solid waste level is too high, it could indicate clogging or not maintaining the tank properly.
Condition Of The Baffle
The baffle in the tank slows down the release of water. It is positioned high enough that it should never come in contact with solid waste. If waste is contacting the baffle that means it may be leaking into the field improperly. This could cause issues with the drain field that are very expensive to repair. Even if waste is not currently on the baffle, the inspector checks to see if there are any signs of waste having contacted it in the past that may be hidden due to recent tank pumping.
Condition Of The Grass Above The System
The inspector assesses the grass above the tank and the field. Standing water or signs of sewage in the yard are red flags of a septic system problem. Isolated areas of lush grass are also signs of a septic tank leak. In addition to checking the yard, the inspector checks the tank lid and any portion of the tank that's visible for cracks and other damage.
Compliance With Local Codes
If the septic system is old, changes may have been made to the property by a previous owner that don't comply with local codes. One concern is the size of the tank. A septic tank is sized according to the number of bedrooms in a home. If additions were built or if a basement or garage was converted, the septic tank may no longer be the correct size. Also, buildings need to be a set distance away from a septic tank. Sheds and garages cannot be built over a drain field.
Once you have all this knowledge, you'll have a good idea of the health of the septic system you're planning to buy. If the tank is cracked or if the drain field is damaged, you may want to avoid the property or ask the seller makes repairs before you buy.
Contact a company like Clogbusters for more information and assistance.