Questions to Ask When Buying a Home with a Septic System


We understand that purchasing a home is an exciting milestone. When you’re buying a home with an existing septic tank, you’ll need to inspect everything from blocked drains and septic tank condition to the leach fields, to ensure you’re buying a septic system that works.


Though there’s no guarantee that any septic tank will be 100% defect-free, it pays to ensure everything is in good working condition to avoid being blindsided by potential health hazards and repair costs. After all, purchasing a home is a major investment. It’s only reasonable for you, as a potential homebuyer, to obtain all the information you need before signing. Here are some basic yet critical questions you should ask when planning to buy a home with a septic tank.



Where is the septic tank located?


The first question to ask the seller or agent is where the septic tank and the leach field are located. You need to know where they are to avoid damaging them when your tanks need to be serviced. You’ll also want to easily direct professional plumbers in the future when scheduling routine septic tank maintenance.


Knowing the location can also assist you in performing a visual inspection of the whole septic system. Walk over the area and observe if there are any signs of a sewage overflow. Look for wet areas and observe whether sewage odours are emanating. Take note where the location of the septic tank is and whether it’s nearby private wells, ponds, rocky areas, property lines, or shrubbery. The general rule is to avoid parking near a septic tank or leach field. You also want to avoid planting trees or plants in the surrounding areas.



What parts of the septic tank have been installed?


Septic tanks include a conventional tank and a drain field, but you need to ask what other specific parts are installed. Is there a lid or riser access for the tank? If there are, you need to know where these items are located. Some septic tanks also include filters. You’ll need to know where those are when it’s time for them to be replaced.



 How long has the septic tank been in use?


You’d also want to ask how old the existing septic system is. This is because every septic system has a finite life span and the older it is, the more maintenance and repair it will require. It may even need to be replaced. This knowledge will play a crucial part in your decision-making as septic tank replacements are highly expensive. Ideally, current homeowners should be the ones responsible for getting a new one if their existing tank is already past its prime.



 When was the septic tank last inspected?


Inspections are essential when you’re dealing with older septic systems. Regularly inspected septic systems are likely in better working condition than those that are not. Ask when it was last inspected to reduce costly surprises. If it’s been a while, you can ask the seller to have the septic system inspected before you purchase the home.



When was it last serviced or pumped?


Ideally, septic tanks need to be pumped every 3-5 years. Pumping is part of routine maintenance to ensure solids don’t accumulate and that the overall system is in proper working order. If the tank is less than two years old, has gone through pumping the last year, and you see no other signs of problems, then you’re clear. You can also call the contractor who initiated the last pump to confirm this or to get a deeper perspective on the condition of the septic tank.



Have there been any home additions since the septic system was installed?


The size of the septic tank should be dependent on the size of your home and household. If there are several people in the household and significant additions have been made to the home, it’s important to consider this. The addition of bathrooms increases a household’s water usage, which may affect the condition of your septic tank as the size may already be too small for the household it’s currently serving.



Hire Streamline for a thorough septic inspection!


Streamline is your go-to team of experts in professional septic tank inspections. We can do proper testing of septic systems using innovative technology and present you with a full report to ensure potential homebuyers like you get the most value for your investment. To arrange a job or to request a quote, contact us today!