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Everything you need to know about buying a house with a septic tank

Updated: Feb 9, 2023

Almost half of Americans would rather live in a town or rural setting than in a city, according to a 2021 Gallup study. But homes in a rural setting bring issues that you probably didn’t think about and additional expenses for a homeowner like your property being connected to a septic tank.

What is a septic tank?

It’s a way to treat and dispose of wastewater from your property that is not connected to a municipal system. Before buying a house with a septic system you should fully understand a few things.

How does a septic tank work?

It’s a common for houses that are in rural settings to have a septic tank, which is a mechanism that’s used to collect and treating wastewater from your home. If your home has a septic tank, it means that your wastewater gets treated on your property, rather than at a treatment plant, which is more common in cities or suburb townships.

Septic tanks collect all sorts of wastewater that comes from your household, not just toilet waste. Anything that goes down any drain, including water from your washing machine and dishwasher, food scraps, anything in the garbage disposal, washer, dishwasher, household cleaning products, shower water and more will all lead into your septic tank.

The tank is buried deep underground somewhere on your property and is completely watertight. Most are constructed of concrete or fiberglass. The size of the tank depends on the size of your home, but for 3 bedroom home the tanks on average are around 1000-2000 gallons.

Each time you run your dishwasher or flush a toilet this water will flow through an opening in the tank, called an inlet, where the water collects. Heavy solids settle at the bottom of the thank called the sludge and lighter items called scum, float on top.

Once the solids have been separated, the water that remains in the tank, called the effluent, will discharge from the tank and flow through a series of pipes into a drain field (leach). The soil treats and disperses the water, which eventually gets discharged into the groundwater.

Septic tanks can be very reliable, but they need to be professionally maintained in order to operate properly. During the cleaning, a technician removes the sludge and scum from the tank through a large hose. They also inspect the tank for signs of leaks, clogs and failure spots. It varies on when tanks should be cleaned from annual to every couple of years and can cost between $300-$1000 per cleaning depending upon your location and the size of the system.

Some homes in various states require the septic system to be inspected before the property title is transferred. Some mortgage lenders might require an inspection which is part of a typical home inspection process. Also, some townships have set maintenance schedules and others may have code requirement and if your system doesn’t meet current codes it may need to be reinstalled in another area of your property.

Septic systems are affordable when working properly, better for the environment and are long lasting. Septic systems that fail can get messy and expensive to replace. Clogged lines can flood your yard and come up into your home with sewage. It’s also possible that these lines can contaminate your well water system.

They aren’t something to be afraid of when you are house hunting because they are a necessity in rural areas. They need a routine maintenance to avoid costly and messy repairs and using additives like Sun Septic Products can only help you maintain your system longer without issues. Sun Septic helps to breakdown the wastewater and keep your system running healthy for a longer period of time without doing any damage to your system or the environment. It’s a clean and easy way to protect your home. Call us today to learn sign up at 1-877-224-5839 or, fill out our contact sheet below.

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