3 Reasons Septic Tank Inspections Are Critical For Homebuyers

Are you considering a home with a septic tank? Private septic systems are an efficient way to deal with waste outside areas served by municipal sewer lines, but they aren't maintenance-free. A poorly maintained septic system can lead to a host of issues, many of which can be messy and potentially costly to resolve.

Septic tanks are often one of the least visible parts of any home. If you're buying a house with one of these systems, it can be easy to overlook problems, even if you're otherwise careful with your inspection. Below you'll find three reasons why a dedicated septic inspection is a necessary part of the home buying process and how this extra step may save you a lot of money.

1. Pumping Can Hide Issues

When a septic system fails, it can often fail in some fairly noticeable and unpleasant ways. An overfilled tank or clogged leaching field can cause sewage to back up into your home and create a significant mess. Even if water isn't coming back into the home, there's often a noticeable smell from drains closer to the bottom of the house.

However, these symptoms may not be apparent if the current owners recently pumped the tank. Pumping a septic tank can temporarily relieve problems with a faulty tank or bad drainfield, making the system appear to operate correctly. A careful inspection will help reveal these issues, alerting you to the potential of a costly failure in the future.

2. Records May Be Poor

It's essential to know as much about a septic system as possible. Poorly sized, old, or incorrectly designed systems can cause numerous problems, even if they seem to work reasonably well for now. For example, a tank that's too small for a home may require frequent pumping and more extensive maintenance.

While newer systems often have good records, older systems may have little if any documentation associated with them. In many cases, the current owners may even be unaware of these issues. A full inspection will allow an expert to understand and evaluate the design of a septic system, allowing you to make a more informed purchasing decision.

3. Problems Aren't Easy to Spot

Septic tanks seem relatively straightforward from the outside, but they contain numerous critical features that can wear out or fail. For example, older tanks may include concrete baffles that can deteriorate. Even if the tank's walls can break down or crack, leading to hidden below-ground leaks and other problems.

A thorough inspection will help you detect these problems and determine if the home's tank may need repairs or even replacement. While these problems may not be enough to stop you from buying the home, it's always better to know about them upfront instead of encountering a surprise repair bill a few years down the line.

Contact a septic tank inspection service to learn more.