Should you have your septic system inspected?
Did you know a general home inspector normally does not have the expertise to properly inspect your septic system and drainfields? So should you have your septic system inspected by another inspector?
When you are buying a home with a septic system, it is imperitive to know what shape the system is in. These inspectors are also usually installers and business owners not just inspectors. If there is an issue with the system or it needs to be pumped, the small fee an inspector charges would be easily offset by extremely costly repairs or a pumping seervice. Some of the questions you need to ask your inspector
Do I need to have my tank pumped before a septic inspection?
How does a septic system and drainfields work? They are not as simple as they may appear.
How does a septic inspection work?
- Generally, in order to properly inspect your septic system, the tank needs to be opened. This allows the inspector to see the condition of the Outlet-T (where the sewer water flows from the tank to the distribution box) and check the overall levels of the tank. At this time he will determine whether or not your tank will need to be pumped.
- If someone is home, we will have them flush a toilet. This will help us confirm the working order of the Inlet-T (or how waste from your house runs into the tank).
- The next step is probably the most important step in the process: They dig up the distribution box. Septic inspectors look and make sure there are no cracks or sludge in the box and make sure it is distributing the water into your drainfield. If there is sludge or roots in the box this can be a sign of overuse and it will need to be cleaned. And then cleaned more frequently. Generally distribution boxes will last 25-30 years. If there are any cracks or defects it will need to be replaced.
Lastly a septic inspector will drill holes in the drainfield. They use an auger and take a sample. They are looking for either damp or dry samples. Again, if there is any sludge or roots in the drainfield it may need to be repaired.
If at all during the inspection process a certified inspector will we help you contact the health department and obtain any necessary permits to get your system repaired.