If you are interested in buying a rural home that uses a septic system instead of connecting to a community sewer line, then there are many things you should watch for when touring properties you are considering for purchase. Septic tanks were not always professionally and correctly installed back in the days before inspections and building codes, so an old septic system should always be suspect for potential problems. Thankfully, there are some signs of septic system problems that you can watch for as you walk around each property you are considering, such as:
The Presence of a Water Softener or Garbage Disposal
Both water softeners and garbage disposals introduce substances into your septic system that make it harder for the bio-digesting bacteria to do their job. If you see these two appliances when you are inspecting a home, then you should assume that the property has problems with hard water and harmful substances are very likely in its septic tank. If you make an offer on this house, you will need to have the septic system completely pumped out and scrubbed clean before moving in. You will also need to re-plumb the water softener so that it does not discharge into the septic system, and stop using the garbage disposal.
Unusually Lush Areas of Landscaping
Leaking septic tank lids and over-saturated leach fields are often covered by bright green grass or other landscaping that will appear lusher than the rest of the yard. If you see areas of landscaping that stick out because they are clearly getting a lot more water than the rest of the yard, then you should suspect that there might be a problem with a full septic tank's lid leaking or an over-saturated leach field.
Concrete or Asphalt Covering Septic System Components
Finally, septic tanks, leach lines, and leach fields should never be covered by concrete pads, walkways, or asphalt. If you see a lot of solid surfaces in the home's yard, make sure that you ask where the septic system's components are located and ensure that they are not buried under heavy building materials. Heavy items installed over septic systems can cause damage from their weight and make accessing the system very expensive, even for the most basic of repairs and maintenance. By knowing that you may one day have expensive septic system repairs to your new house, you will be able to adjust your offer price accordingly.
For further assistance, contact a local plumber, such as one from Absolute Plumbing & Drain Cleaning Services Inc.