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Buying a Country Home? Have the Septic System Inspected First

A septic tank
Before buying any home, it's always a good idea to have a home inspection. When you're buying a home in the country, there's often an extra component to that inspection process: having the septic system looked over by a septic professional.

This service is not usually included in a general home inspection, but it is worth your while to seek out a company that offers real estate septic inspections and take advantage of their services before you enter into a contract to buy the home. Doing so may save you a lot of headaches--and money--in the future.

Why Is a Pre-Purchase Septic Inspection So Important?

Replacing a failing septic system can cost upwards of $10,000, and often more. You would not want to purchase a home and then find out it needs a new septic tank or major repairs to the drainfield. And if your septic system requires repair, this is not a task you can put off until it's convenient. A failing septic system can expose you and your family members to dangerous bacteria in raw sewage; repairs need to be made promptly for safety reasons.

Some home buyers assume they can detect septic trouble on their own, but this is often not the case, particularly if the home has not been lived in for a while. Many of the tell-tale signs of septic failure, like slow drains and a sewage smell in the drainfield, diminish when the system is not being used regularly. You really need a septic professional to dig up the tank and carefully look over the system for signs of any problems.

Another reason to have a septic inspection is to learn more about the tank and system. In many cases, the seller may not be certain how large the tank is, when it was installed, and how well it has been cared for over the years. A septic inspection will ensure you know all of the details about the system so you can make a more informed buying decision.

What Will the Inspector Look For?

It will take your inspector about two hours to thoroughly evaluate the system. Throughout this process, they will look for any number of septic system issues, including the following.

An Overfull Tank

If the septic tank is overly full of solid waste, which shows that the homeowner has not had it pumped as often as needed, this can indicate that the tank is no longer protecting the leech field from solid waste. The leach field may be contaminated and in need of replacement. At the very least, the tank will need to be pumped before anyone moves into the home.

Leaking Leach Pipes

The inspector will flush fluorescent dye down the toilet and watch to see whether it appears in the drainfield. In some cases, they will return several days after the inspection to check for the presence of dye. If the dye is seen in the drainfield, this indicates that there is a leak in one of the leach pipes.

Broken or Leaking Tank

Septic tanks can be made from steel or concrete. Concrete tanks can last indefinitely, but steel tanks sometimes rust out and require replacement in as few as 20 years. The inspector will ensure the tank is in good shape, or if there is some minor damage, give you an estimate of how much longer the tank is expected to last.

What Should You Do if the Septic System Needs Repairs or Updates?

If the inspection reveals problems with the home's septic system, you may choose to walk away from the sale or to negotiate a lower price with the seller. If you do choose to negotiate with the seller, make sure you first get an accurate estimate of what the repairs will cost so you are not left with unexpected repair costs following the sale.

In many cases, the smartest approach is to require that the buyer makes certain repairs before you purchase your home. Your real estate agent can offer you further guidance in this regard.

If you're looking for a septic company in the Brooksville area, contact AAA Whites Septic Tank Services today.