It could be said that purchasing a previously occupied home is a little like buying a pre-owned vehicle — both can be a good value but neither can provide any real guarantees regarding how the previous owners used or maintained them. This statement may be even more true when the previous owners of a home can't or choose not to provide the new owners with specific information about usage, repairs and previous maintenance.
While this situation can be problematic when it concerns the home's structure or any of its major systems, it can be even more troublesome when it concerns a residential septic system. Buyers who have closed on a home without the benefit of having reliable information about their septic tank and drain field can use the following tips to help avoid incurring problems due to condition or lack of maintenance.
Look for available public records
In most areas, there are local, state or federal regulations in place regarding the design and construction of residential septic systems. Although the wording of these regulations can vary from location to location, most specify that the installer must be properly licensed to perform the work and require the use of a permit process.
Records of installations, including copies of the permit applications, are often available though the county's health department. These records can often help homeowners verify the location of their septic system and provide information about its design, date of installation and the name of the installer.
Have a baseline evaluation performed
Homeowners who have little or no current information about their septic system may want to consider having their system evaluated by a reputable residential septic system service to provide them with a baseline of information. Once a baseline has been established, continued periodic inspections can help determine any negative changes in functionality so that maintenance or repairs can be scheduled in a timely manner.
Schedule regular pumping services
Septic systems can become overloaded by misuse, even when unintentional. Small mistakes by the occupants of the home or guests, such as flushing feminine hygiene products, paper towels, or other non-digestible materials, can build up quickly in the septic tank and can begin to strain the entire system.
Scheduling the septic tank to be pumped at regular intervals is a proactive way for homeowners to remove this type of stress from their septic system. Homeowners who would like to learn more about their home's septic system and what they can do to protect it should take a moment to discuss their situation with a provider of residential septic tank services in their area.