What You Need To Know About Septic Pumping And Your New House

Posted on: 1 December 2021

Buying a house can be a stressful time for many people. There is often anxiety surrounding choosing the right house, getting the offer accepted, and having the home inspected. When a house has its own septic system instead of being connected to the municipal sewer system, it can compound the stress, especially for buyers without any previous experience with septic systems. 

What is a septic system?

A septic system is a home's waste removal system. Instead of being transported out of the house, into the city's underground pipes, and to a municipal wastewater treatment center, both gray and black water are piped instead to an underground storage tank on the property. The solids eventually sink to the bottom of the tank and the water is moved to a leach field, also on the property, before being returned to the groundwater. 

When did the sellers last clean their septic tank?

Asking the sellers when they last had their septic tank pumped is important. The seller's agent should provide your agent and, in turn, you, with a copy of the receipt as proof of service. Septic tanks should be cleaned every two years. If the house has been vacant or only used occasionally, like a vacation home, the tank should still be evaluated by a professional every two years even it does not need to be pumped. 

Should I have the septic inspected?

Your home inspector can do a cursory, visual inspection of the system, but it is better to perform a full septic inspection with a septic system service provider in the area. They can perform a more thorough inspection that includes signs of leakage, signs of backup, the levels of sludge in the bottom of the tank, and any ground contamination. This type of service provider can not only inspect the tank but also give estimates on any necessary repairs. 

Can I ask the sellers to pay for septic pumping services?

After any home inspection, you can request that the sellers make any recommended repairs. This includes, but is not limited to, pumping the tank, repairing or replacing the tank, and replacing the drain field and any pipes leading to it. Septic repairs can be costly. The seller may not want to make repairs. They are required by law, however, to disclose the results of your inspection to any future buyers, which may motivate them to make the deal work with you.

Septic systems may be different than what you are accustomed to but that does not mean you should steer clear of homes with septics. Simply pay for a quality septic inspection and maintain the tank by pumping it regularly. 

For more information on septic pumping services, contact a professional near you.