In rural areas, septic systems are still quite common. They can be a very effective means of dealing with household wastewater, but they do require a bit more hands-on maintenance than a connection to a pubic sewer. So, before you purchase a home with a septic tank, it's important that you talk to the homeowner or realtor to learn a bit more about that home's particular system, what maintenance has been done, and what maintenance may be required in the future. Here are two big questions you should ask before buying any home with a septic tank.
How often has the system been pumped and inspected?
Ask to see records of past inspections or receipts from pumping appointments if possible. There are a few things you can glean from this information. If the current owner has not had the tank pumped in many years, you'll know you need to have this maintenance done soon. (Most tanks need to be pumped about every three years.)If the current owner has had the tank pumped out very often – say every 6 months or every year – this could be a sign that the tank is not functioning as it should. In this case, you may want to have the tank inspected to see if whether the frequent pumping is indicative of a problem or if the owner is just very proactive about maintenance.
How large is the tank?
The more people who live in a home, the more waste and water your septic tank will need to deal with. Typically, homes are fitted with septic tanks based on the number of bedrooms when they're originally built. But if the tank has been replaced at some point in the past, there's no guarantee the owner did n't downsize the tank because of their own smaller household size or personal preferences. If you plan on having 1 – 3 people live in the home, you'll want a tank with at least a 1,000-gallon capacity. For 4 occupants, look for a 1,200-gallon tank. For five occupants, you want a 1,500-gallon tank, and for six occupants you want a 1,750-gallon tank.
If the tank is smaller than the size recommended for your family size, you may want to upgrade to a larger tank. Otherwise, the tank will fill prematurely and you'll find that you need to have it pumped out very often.
As long as the home you're considering buying has a tank that's been pumped regularly and is large enough to accommodate the number of people you'll have living in the home, you should not have any major issues. Just make sure you confirm these things before you buy!
For plumbing services, contact a company such as RK Knight Plumbing.