Schedule a Full Septic Tank Inspection Before Purchasing a Home

Read on to learn how a septic tank visual inspection is typically performed by a home inspector and how a full septic system inspection differs.

Read on to learn how a septic tank visual inspection is typically performed by a home inspector and how a full septic system inspection differs.

full septic inspection before buying a home

When purchasing a home, there are many things that buyers need to focus on, and unfortunately, some of these things get overlooked. One thing that cannot be ignored or forgotten is the septic system, because if there’s an issue with this that goes unnoticed, the process of buying and settling into your new home can go south fast.

There are two types of septic tank inspections that are done by septic tank service professionals and they are a visual septic inspection and a full septic tank inspection. Each option is useful, but they do not entail the same things (at least not entirely).

Visual septic inspection information

A visual septic tank inspection may be performed by a home inspector or a septic services professional. It doesn’t involve opening the tank itself or inspecting the individual components. What it doesinvolve are the following:

  • Flushing toilets to ensure that they drain and fill properly
  • Looking for signs of leaks or obstructions (puddling in the basement, damp spots in the yard, a foul smell)
  • Checking the flow of water from showers

While they will be useful for people that want to be sure there are no glaring problems with the septic system, and can satisfy the requirements of home inspections, they often don’t give true insight into the overall function of the system.

Full septic inspection process

The full septic inspection is much more capable of giving homeowners peace of mind because most (but not all) components of a septic system will be evaluated. A full septic inspection includes:

  • All aspects of a visual inspection
  • Opening the septic tank to check liquid levels and be sure the aerator is still moving/functioning
  • Introducing water into the system (flushing) and watching as it moves through the tanks (this checks the flow)
  • If the tank has not been recently pumped, many full septic inspections will feature a total pump-out of the septic tank. This allows septic services professionals to closely inspect the floors, walls and connectors within the tank to check for leaks, cracks or worn down parts.
  • Some full septic inspections also involve digging small holes near the tank ends and in the drain field. These holes are used to partially observe the underground stones and pipes, as well as to check for water that is leaving the system where it shouldn’t.

    Both septic inspections will see the professionals asking you questions about the system, about your home and about potential issues that you may have noticed. Not only will the visit give you peace of mind about the status of your system, but it will give you the opportunity to ask questions of your own so that in the future, you can be better prepared when and if issues arise.

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