How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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Should I buy a house with a septic tank?
Monday, May 24, 2021
Deciding whether or not to buy a house with a septic system is, at least partially, a lifestyle choice. Houses in more developed and urban areas are connected to a sewer, usually with minimal distance between you and the neighbors. As you move away from civilization, homes at the outer edge of suburbia offer larger lots and still have municipal water service, but require a septic tank in the yard. Even further out, rural homes on acreage need both a well and septic tank.
So, if you are considering a house with a septic system, you're probably yearning to live a little outside of town and on more land. Here’s a few of the pros and cons of septic vs. sewer:
•• Requires no energy. Effluent drains by gravity to tank (unless the drain from house runs uphill and requires a grinder pump), and anaerobic bacteria in the tank do all the work of breaking down the organic material.
•• No sewer bills to pay.
•• Tank must be pumped every five years or so. If you wait too long, backups are not pretty.
•• Requires replacement periodically. Lifespan of a septic system is averages about 30 to 40 years, but tank and drainfield can be replaced separately.
•• You must be careful what you put down the drain. Excessive grease or chemicals cause problems. Using a kitchen sink disposal is not recommended.
•• No maintenance required.
•• Very dependable, with virtually no downtime.
•• Monthly sewer bills.
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To learn more about septic systems, go to some of our other articles:
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