If you have been connected to a municipal sewer system in the past and now you are planning to buy a new home with its own sewage treatment plant, there are a couple of important things you should know about its septic tank system.
Buying a property with its own separate septic tank system has its specific advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage of a septic tank system is that it’s suitable for properties located in rural areas that are impossible for connecting to a public sewer system or the connection process is too difficult.
A septic tank system (also called soakaway system) is different from a public sewer system in several ways. The main role of a septic tank system is to process all of the wastewater of a given property and lead it away from the property in a safe and effective way.
It’s recommended for every property owner to put in some effort in the proper and regular maintenance of the septic system of their property. No matter if you have a commercial or residential property, paying attention to the function of its septic system is crucial for avoiding frequent repairs and sewer issues.
You have probably heard that when maintained frequently and according to the right methods a septic tank system can last a long time. A key thing for every septic tank system owner is to know exactly how their septic system works.
What are the key things you should consider when buying a property with a septic system?
How the property’s septic tank system works and what type it is?
If you have chosen a property with a septic tank system, before buying it it’s recommended to first check the property’s septic system’s maintenance manual or ask the previous owner what are the maintenance requirements of the property septic system.
A standard septic system consists of four elements-the septic tank, the pipes that connect the property to the septic tank, the leach field and the soil.
A septic tank is an underground chamber that acts as an artificial wastewater drainage system. Septic tanks are usually made of concrete, steel or fiberglass and their main role is to store all of the wastewater coming from a property for a basic treatment.
As you may know the wastewater inside a septic tank is processed thanks to the healthy bacteria living inside the tank. Its main job is to purify the water before it’s absorbed into the ground and joined to the water cycle afterward.
While the wastewater is held inside a septic tank the healthy bacteria turns the organic waste in the water into a liquid. This liquid waste (also called sewage effluent) goes to the leach field for one last treatment for removing its microbial content before it’s absorbed naturally by the soil.
If too much water goes to the leach field, the result will be septic tank failure and sewage backup. When you have a leach field flooding you will be able to see sewage water on the ground surface close to the leach field of your property.
What is left from the wastewater treatment process are solid waste particles that go down to the septic tank’s bottom.
Lastly, the role of the pipelines is to lead the waste water away from the property.
Generally, septic tank systems divide into conventional and advanced. Conventional septic tank systems operate with both physical and biological processes for wastewater treatment. This means the wastewater coming from a property undergoes treatment both in the septic tank and when it’s released into the leach field.
The downside of the conventional septic tank system is that it cannot be installed at every property, especially in the case of small-size properties. That’s because there should be some distance between the septic tank and the leach field.
Moreover, conventional septic tank systems are not suitable also for properties with poor percolation rate or properties at areas with high water table. In such cases advanced septic tank systems are a more suitable option.
The difference between conventional and advanced septic tank systems is that the second applies additional technologies to make the quality of the water better. As they are more modern, understandably they consist of more advanced components which makes them demanding in terms of maintenance and routine checkups.
To have an optimal function advanced septic tank systems require an annual maintenance that includes regular check-ups and repairs of some of the components. These repairs add up to the total cost needed to maintain such septic systems. And this is one of the things you need to consider when choosing a property with an advanced septic tank system.
Some of the newer septic tank models are equipped with risers that help us locate, inspect and pump them in an easy and quick way.
No matter what type of septic system your new home has, one of the recommended things you should do is consult with septic tank system experts about its septic system condition and schedule inspection.
And it’s also recommended to check if the septic tank system follows the general binding rules. They include the legal requirements considering the installation of septic tanks.
Professional septic tank cleaning service providers will tell you most accurately whether a property’s drainage system has any issues.
By doing this you will save yourself some serious septic tank problems after moving into your new home. Some of the popular septic tank issues are broken or clogged pipelines, septic tank collapse resulting from soil disruption, pipe damage caused by tree roots. All these can result in sewage backups and drain field flooding.
When Was the Septic System Last Repaired or Maintained?
Periodical checks and clean-ups are crucial for any type of a septic tank system. That is why when buying a new home with its own septic tank system, it’s important to check the septic tank’s emptying records.
Skipping your scheduled septic tank pumping isn’t recommended as it increases the risk of septic tank failure and sewer backups which lead not only to costly for repair property damage but it can also become a health risk for the building’s inhabitants.
Septic tank pumping and inspection should be done on schedule and preferably by a professional septic tank contractor.
That is why when choosing to buy a new home property, one of the first things you should do is learn when the last septic tank emptying or checkup of its septic tank system. The usual septic tank pumping frequency is once every 2-5 years depending on where the property is located.
What Are the Current Water Meter Readings?
It’s true that both the installation and repair of a septic tank system can be a costly task. For this reason septic tank systems are made with the purpose to treat the actual amount of household wastewater flow rather than an estimated wastewater amount.
So, when buying a home with a septic system, it’s recommended to learn what the system’s actual flow rates are, which are measured with a water meter. Getting an accurate measurement of the sewage flow of a property by using a water meter can help you understand clearly how the septic system operates and its specific features.
Where Is the Septic Tank?
The location of the septic tank is another thing you should consider when choosing your new home place. Every area has its specific landscape position and topography. These factors directly influence the way water travels through the soil. The shape of the ground slope is one of the things that determine how the water will move.
Therefore, landscape and topography should be considered important when deciding where to build a wastewater treatment facility. And definitely something every home buyer should consider when looking for a property with a ready-to-use septic tank system.
Should I contact professionals?
As we have mentioned, the best way to keep your septic tank system in good condition and protect your property from sewer backups and leach field floodings is to schedule regular septic tank pumping and septic tank annual inspection with septic tank pros.
Using the services of a trusted septic tank cleaning company offers more advantages, than disadvantages.
Septic tank technicians will not only save you a lot of effort, money and property damage, but they will also give you valuable professional advice on what are the things you should and should not do on a daily basis to prolong the life of your septic tank system as much as possible and ensure its efficient work.