Questions To Ask Before Buying A Home With A Septic Tank
In more rural areas, there is not typically a public sewer system. Instead, each home has its own septic tank where waste collects before slowly seeping out into the surrounding soil. That septic tank and the associated plumbing components are the homeowner's responsibility to maintain. Therefore, if you are about to buy a home with a septic tank, you need to ask relevant questions to determine whether the tank is in good condition. Here are the questions you'll want to ask.
How large is the tank?
Septic tanks come in various sizes. The more people you have living in a home, the larger the tank you will need. A 1,000-gallon tank is about standard for a family of three or four. But if you have a larger family, you will need a bigger tank. You don't want to move six people into a home with a 1,000-gallon tank because the tank will fill up too fast, start to leak sewer water into your yard, and be a real hassle!
When was the tank last pumped?
Most septic tanks need to be pumped every two to five years, depending on how heavily the family uses the plumbing. If the current homeowners do not know when the tank was last pumped, that could be a red flag. You might move in and find that the tank is overly filled and needs septic pumping ASAP, which will cost you a few hundred dollars. If the tank has been pumped in the last two or three years, you can have more confidence that the homeowners have taken good care of the system.
Where is the leech field?
When you are visiting the property, make sure you ask where the leech field is, and walk over there. Observe the leech field, and make sure you don't see any water pooling. Also, note whether you smell any sewage odors. If the area is really wet or it smells like sewage, the septic tank may not be doing its job. You may want to have a septic inspector look over the tank and make sure it is functioning properly. Raw sewage can be dangerous, so you don't want to move in until you're confident there's not a problem.
Living in a home with a septic tank is really no different than living in a home with a sewer connection as long as the tank is properly sized and working well! Don't be afraid to ask questions.