Septic inspections are something that should be done whenever purchasing a previously owned home. Many inspections should be done when buying a new home; often the septic system is overlooked. A septic inspection can tell you a lot about how someone has been treating the system. We can tell you if someone has been neglecting the system by not pumping frequently enough, and whether or not the system is in good working order, or that it has failed and needs replacing. Replacing a septic system can run anywhere from a couple thousand dollars up into the 20,000 dollar range, depending on the system. If you don’t have the system checked out, you could be replacing a system for the home you just bought! In general a septic system drainfield will have an average lifespan of about 26 years. Be aware that if you buy a home that is at this age or older even if the system passes inspection it could fail at any time or not at all. An older system can be working properly with just one or two people living in it, but then a family of 4 can move in, double the work load on the system and it fails within the month of moving in. It is also important to understand what kind of system that you have as not all systems are created equal. Does the system have a pump in it, does it work as a pump and dump or is it a low pressure system. Maybe you have a filter in your tank that requires extra maintenance. It’s important to understand the nature of your system and how to take care of it. These are things that can all be learned by having the septic system inspected.

A septic inspection consists of pumping the tank to see if it has been or is overfull, and if all components of the tank are in place. If we see a tank that has an extensive amount of solids, and toilet paper built up, it’s possible that solids have spilled into the drainfield itself. Any solids or toilet paper in the field will cause failure. A tank should be pumped every 3-5 years depending on the age and size of the system, and how many people living in the house. Always ask for any septic records!! We also will excavate 2-3 holes in the drainfield. This helps us to see if there is any standing water, or muddy dirty stone (both indications of failure) in the field. Checking the field is critical in the assessment of a system. This will be the final say on whether a system is working properly or not, and needs to be replaced. It is also important that the placement of the system is checked. A system needs to be at least 50’ from any wells (neighbors also) and 10ft off all property lines. When the inspection is done, you will get a thorough report of what we have found along with a drawing of the system.

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