When considering buying a home with a septic tank, you should make yourself aware of red flags and regular maintenance. You should always properly maintain your septic system and get it inspected regularly, most likely the same time you get it pumped (normally every 1 to 3 years depending on use). This will prolong your systems life and also prevent the need for expensive repairs.
When the Septic system is beginning to fail, it can be difficult for people who are not familiar with Septic systems to spot signs of trouble. However, there is a few red flags you can look out for, that are easily identifiable and a great indication that its time to have the system serviced by a licensed professional.
Below are some red flags that indicate your septic system needs service.
Date of last Pump
1.) When buying a home with a septic tank, its always wise to get a date for the last time the system has been pumped or serviced. Even if the system is working properly with no issues, but the owner hasn’t pumped the tank in several years, this can be a red flag in itself. There could be leaks, back-ups, blockages, and other problems within the tank that can go unnoticed. It’s very important to the efficiency and integrity of your system, the environment, and also your family and pets that you have your septic tank serviced/pumped/inspected every 1-3 years depending on size and use.
Wet/Saturated drain field
2.) If you or your inspector come across a soggy or wet drain field, this is a red flag and indicates the drain field is being compromised and not performing as intended. This can be caused by tree roots, excessive rainfall and use, Improper installation, or Inconsistent service/maintenance of the system. If you come across a saturated drain/leach field with a smell of sewage and waste, call a licensed and insured septic professional to properly service and make any necessary repairs.
Slow drains and backed up toilets
3.) If your sinks are not draining and your toilet will not flush without backing up and nearly flooding your home, you have a septic system problem. This is a good indication that the septic system is beyond its maximum capacity, or experiencing clogs/blockages within the drain lines of the system. At this point it would be wise to contact a licensed and insured septic professional to come out and service/repair the system.
Bad odors inside/outside the home
4.) Bad odors that smell of sewage and waste are always a good indication that there is something wrong with the septic system. If you notice smells like raw sewage, rotten eggs/food, or human waste, you should call a licensed and insured septic professional right away!