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Buying a Home with a Septic System

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By : M Shane    99 or more times read
When you're looking to buy a new home one important aspect that many prospective buyers may overlook is if their home of choice is on city sewage or has its own septic system. Because a septic system is unfamiliar for many people they may not know what they need to look for when buying a home with that type of waste water treatment.

Septic systems take all the waste water from your home, including grey water (wash water) and sewage and treat it by settling out the solids, exposing it to bacteria, and filtering the water through a septic field of sorts.

All septic systems start with a septic tank made from a fairly inert material like concrete or fibreglass. This two part tank is where all the waste water from your home flows into. The septic tank has a divider with a hole about two thirds of the way up to allow fluids to flow through while blocking most of the solid matter and collecting grease at the top; this allows the water to flow out of the end of the tank with less impediment.

The top of the septic tank has two access hatches, one of each side of the tank for cleaning and pumping purposes. A septic tank needs to be pumped out every three to five years or when the tank is about a third full of solid waste. An overfull tank can cause the whole system to not function properly.

The next step in the septic system is the leaching bed; the waste water that comes out of the septic tank flows into a series of perforated pipes that are laid in gravel trenches. As the water seeps out of the pipes and through the gravel and soil, microbes clean the moisture of harmful components like bacteria before draining the water back into the ground water.

If the soil type isn't conducive for a proper leaching field there are ways to modify your field so that it can still properly clean the waste water coming out of your system. Alternatives to the conventional system can include using some type of trickling filter which will provide the waste water some additional filtering before releasing it to the ground.

Before buying a home with a septic system like these, you will need to have the system inspected to ensure that it's functioning properly and that's it's been maintained. Information that you will need to get from the homeowners includes records of septic tank pumping, cleaning, and repair; the homeowners should also tell you if there are any drainage issues with the system. If the home is also on a well, make sure that there are no contamination problems between the septic system and the well. An inspector will check for signs of problems with the system that could potentially cost you thousands of dollars to repair that you may not be expecting.

Don't be afraid to buy a home that is on a septic system instead of city sewage, as long as you maintain it properly it can provide you with twenty-five years or more of waste water treatment.

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