Having a routine Septic Inspection is an important part of keeping your home safe and well-maintained. That’s why it’s recommended that all homes with a septic system have this inspection at least once every three to five years. A Septic Inspection can help detect issues with your septic system and provide suggestions to help remedy any issues.

What is a Septic System?

A septic system is an underground system of pipes that controls water and waste flow in and out of the home. The septic system is responsible for removing water and waste produced by sinks, showers, toilets, and washers from the home and filtering out the waste before redistributing the water to the ground. This process helps to decrease the amount of water and soil pollution present in the home and surrounding area. This inspection should also coincide with having your septic tank pumped. Having your septic tank pumped regularly is a crucial step in ensuring the safety and health of your septic system.

A Septic Inspection is important to both your home and personal health because the septic system controls all waste that flows in and out of the home. Since a home’s septic system is buried underground, the only way to accurately assess its health is through an inspection. A clogged, backed up, or damaged septic system can lead to serious health risks as bacteria and mold can build up and contaminate the water. It is strongly recommended that all home buyers have a Septic Inspection done before moving forward with buying the home.

There are three major components to a septic system: the main drainage pipe, the septic tank, and the drainfield. Waste is carried out of the home through the main drainage pipe, which feeds into the septic tank. The septic tank holds the wastewater while the solid waste settles at the bottom forming a sludge and the liquid, oil, or scum waste floats to the top. Once the waste is separated, compartments in the septic tank allow for the newly treated water to be filtered out and deposited into the drainfield. Once in the drainfield, the treated water filters itself through the soil and is redistributed as ground water.

What Are the Different Types of Septic Inspection?

There are two different types of septic inspection: a visual septic inspection, and a full or invasive septic inspection.

Visual Septic Inspection

A Visual Septic Inspection typically occurs when a house is being bought or sold. During a Visual Septic Inspection, an inspector will ask some generic questions including how old the septic system is, when the last inspection was, and when the last time the tank was pumped. The inspector then runs water and flushes all toilets to gauge water pressure and drainage. Finally, the inspector will go outside to make sure there is no standing water in the drainfield.

While helpful, a visual inspection only covers the visual components of a septic tank and does not give the home buyer the full scope of the septic system.

Full Septic Inspection

A Full Septic Inspection is a more detailed and thorough inspection of a home’s septic system and a great way to fully ensure your septic system is working properly. A Full Septic Inspection includes all the tests run in a visual inspection but takes them a step further. During this inspection, the inspector will remove the cover of the septic tank and take note of the water level. While doing this, they will also run the water in the house to ensure the levels in the tank are not rising. The inspector may also conduct a dye test in which they will color the running water with a dye and note how much of it is entering the septic tank. Too much new water being introduced can indicate an issue. After these tests, the inspector will pump the septic tank to make sure there isn’t any backflow from the drainfield back into the tank. If backflow occurs, there may be a problem with the home’s drainfield.

What Are Some Major Problems That Occur in a Septic System?

There are several issues that can occur in a septic system, all of which can have adverse effects to the health of the home and the individual. Here are some of the most common problems that occur:

  • Dead spots in the lawn
  • Plumbing backup
  • Septic odors in and around the house
  • Gurgling and odd noises emanating from the plumbing
  • Decreased plumbing capability

There are also a variety of common causes to these issues, including:

  • Roots disrupting the drainage pipe, septic tank, or drainage field
  • Settling of the house or septic tank creates an unlevel surface
  • Chemicals, bacteria, enzymes, or other contaminants in the septic tank
  • Failing filters in the septic tank

Frequently Asked Questions

Who pays for a Septic Inspection - the home buyer or seller?

Every situation is different; however, it is recommended that the home seller has a septic inspection performed prior to listing their home. If there is a septic issue found after closing that the seller knew about, they could be held liable.

How to tell when your septic tank is full?

There are several signs that indicate a full septic tank, but the most common are: septic odors, slow draining, pooling water, and sewage backup.

How long does a Septic Inspection take?

A Septic Inspection can take as little as 45 minutes but as long as 3 hours depending on what, if any, issues are detected.

Should I get a Septic Inspection when buying a house?

You should always get a Septic Inspection before buying a house. It is paramount to understand the condition of your septic system to avoid costly repairs in the future.

A Septic Inspection is a crucial step that all home buyers should take before proceeding with their future investment. It is incredibly important to gauge the condition of your septic take to further insure the future health and safety of your home and yourself. Our knowledgeable and certified home inspectors have been trained to identify and provide recommendations to mitigate septic issues. Contact your local WIN home inspector and schedule a Septic Inspection today!

Click here to find a WIN home inspector near you.