Our Realtor has shown us a few houses with septic systems—which we learned is actually pretty common here—and we hate to admit it, but the houses that have them have moved down our list for that reason alone. We’ve heard some horror stories! We got to thinking about it though and what if we find a house we love, but it’s on a septic system. What do you recommend we ask the seller and have done before buying to save us from having a septic horror story of our own in the future?
Mike and Andrea, Grand Junction
Mike and Andrea,
I completely understand your concerns and reservations. Septic systems are often times a worry, however I believe it is typically due to a lack of education on how they work and how easy it really can be to maintain a healthy septic system. In my opinion having a septic system is not a reason to rule your dream home out or even bump it down the list, unless it is showing signs of distress or failure! Yes, having a sewer hookup is easier and generally safer, but I have seen perfectly functioning septic systems that are 30–40 years old and are showing no signs of failure. Spotting signs of failure should be pretty easy.
Here are some common signs of septic system failure:
Slow drains, gurgling or “stuff” backing up into the home. If the drains are slow, that can be a sign of impending issues.
Unpleasant odors inside or outside your home. You will know the smell when you smell it. It most likely won’t be a, “honey do you smell that?,” it will be a “honey was that you?” odor. All kidding aside, it will be a noticeable sewage odor and something that should be looked into promptly.
Look for soggy areas, puddles or places where your lawn is growing like it is located in tropical rain forest! If you find any of these issues, this is telling you that the drain field is not properly draining and needs attention before your kid’s next birthday party!
6 Responses to “WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE BUYING A HOME WITH A SEPTIC SYSTEM”
Great tip about how you should check for septic tank installation prior to buying a new home. I want to have a septic tank that can accommodate 6 people’s water usage. I’ll have to get a plumber to help with dimension sizing for installation.
Great tip about looking for soggy areas. You make a great point about getting proper draining for your house. I’ll have to get a contractor who can properly drain our flooded basement.
Thank you for pointing out that sluggish drains might be an indicator of future problems. My home’s drain causes the water to move slowly and become stagnant. I’ll make a call to the septic installation business to get my septic tank inspected and replaced.
best of luck! It’s definitely better to be safe than sorry!
My best friend and her wife are moving into a house with a septic system next month. Thanks for mentioning how septic tank pumping needs to be done every two to three years. Once my friends are settled into their new home, I’ll make sure they find a reliable septic company to service their tank every few years.
I like what you said about paying attention to gurgling noises. My septic tank has been making some weird noises. My wife and I are wanting to get an inspection scheduled.