Your Dream Home Has a Septic Tank-Now What?

FAQs about Septic Systems and Why you Need a Septic Tank Inspection 

You may have heard the crappy stories—pun intended—of septic tank disasters. Homeowners report lakes of smelly wastewater in their backyards, failed drain fields, and even people falling through collapsing tank lids (Read more horror stories here).

But septic systems don’t have to halt your homebuying plans. With the proper maintenance, septic systems are a good waste management solution and can last for up to 40 years.

It’s important to inspect the septic system when purchasing a new home to avoid running into serious and costly issues after closing. Check out these FAQs about your septic system.

Septic Tank Diagram

What is a septic system?

If your home has a septic system, anything that goes down the toilets or drains in your home finds its way to your septic system. When it arrives there, the waste gets separated into scrum, sludge, and liquid. Microbes, tiny living microorganisms, begin breaking down the solid waste.

Once those solids are broken down, the liquid filters into a second chamber where it meets more microbes. Any liquid leftovers from that second all-natural cleaning process are discharged into drain fields, which carry the liquid via pipes and spread it out over a large area to be purified by the soil. The rest of the solid waste is stored in the tank.

What maintenance does my septic system need?

Those little microbes do a great job of breaking down the waste under normal conditions. But when water is overused, the septic tank is overrun. Homeowners often put waste-besides human waste–down the drains. Microbes can’t break down garbage, chemicals, hygiene products, or oils. If the waste can’t be broken down, you could risk the waste flowing back up into your home, or it could overflow where your septic tank is.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that a home’s septic system be inspected and pumped every three to five years. How do you know when it’s time to pump? That’s all part of why you should get an inspection. A licensed septic tank inspector will literally do the dirty work.

Maintain your septic system

Homeowners should keep and have a service record of any repairs, pumps, or inspections of their septic system.

What is a septic tank inspection?

A septic tank inspection assures that everything is working properly. Inspectors will locate and remove the cover of the septic tank. They test the water levels and make sure water runs properly from your house to the septic.

Inspectors will check for tank cracks and liquid waste leakage around the septic tank or near the drain field. They will also determine if you have a properly sized unit for your home. And they’ll make sure your drain field is located in the right spot away from wells, trees, or cars where the wastewater can be filtered healthily through the soil.

Most importantly, inspectors will measure your sludge level, that solid waste sitting in your septic tank, to determine if your septic tank needs a good pump.

If you need to find or inspect your septic system, look no further than Travis at Cookeville Home Inspection. As a certified septic system inspector, he can help you locate your septic tank, inspect drain fields, and measure and classify contents.

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