Buying A Home With A Septic System

If you have always lived in a home that was hooked up to a municipal sewer system, you may worry about acquiring a property with a septic tank. Many people successfully live with septic systems every day, but you do need to take a few steps before you buy your new home.


Some states and even mortgage lenders require an inspection before allowing a purchase to be completed. Even if an inspection is not required, you should demand one simply because even the best septic systems do not last forever. The good ones can last for up to three decades, but they are expensive to replace, costing between $4,000 and $35,000, depending on what type you purchase. You need to know if a replacement is imminent before you decide to buy so you can figure that expense into the cost of the home.  

Operational Rules

Unlike municipal systems, septic tanks require careful handling. In order to allow the waste products to break down properly, you need to limit the amount of water going into your tank. You can still use sufficient water for your needs, but you should not strain the system by doing tons of laundry on one day. You should also avoid putting grease or oils down the kitchen sink. You must also not flush non-biodegradable items such as cigarette butts, diapers, or paper towels. Although these are relatively simple steps, you do need to be vigilant. If the rules are too restrictive for you, do not buy a home with a septic system.


In addition to being careful about what you put into the system, you will need to practice regular maintenance. Your tank will need to be pumped out every few years, depending on the size of your family and whether you use a garbage disposal. If you do not take care of your system, it can clog and flood your basement or release contaminants into the leech field. You can use septic tank additives, but research has not shown that they are particularly effective. Proper maintenance is not difficult and usually only requires that you remember to have the tank pumped regularly.  

You should not be frightened of buying a property with a septic tank as long as you are prepared to alter your waste disposal habits slightly and have a septic tank professional inspect the system. If you decide to buy, have the system pumped regularly and take the advice of the technician for any additional maintenance needs. 

For further assistance, contact local professionals, such as those from