Have you found yourself wondering what a septic inspection is? Perhaps you have heard others discussing it and are unsure?
Or do you have one coming up and want to know what to expect? Whatever your reason might be, we have the answer for you!
When it comes to septic inspections, many of us are left scratching our heads, unsure what they are or what to expect.
Quickly, we find ourselves racking our brains, searching the internet, but still not coming up with the answers we want.
Well, no more! Today, we are here with the answers you need. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about septic systems and their inspections.
Table of Contents
What Is A Septic System?
The first thing to understand about a septic inspection is to know what a septic system is.
It’s not a toilet, nor is it a garbage disposal unit. Instead, it’s a collection point for human waste.
When we flush our toilets, the water flows down through the pipes in our home and eventually ends up at the main sewer line (see also ‘ 7 Awesome Tips For Sewer And Drainage Line Cleaning ‘).
From there, it goes into a treatment plant where all the solids are removed and the water is cleaned.
The solids remain behind as sludge, which is then pumped out of the plant and spread onto a large area called a “leach field.”
Over time, this leach field becomes saturated with the sludge and begins to break down.
As it breaks down, it releases oxygen into the soil and creates an environment conducive to living organisms such as bacteria.
These bacteria convert the organic matter in the sludge into compost, which is used by homeowners to fertilize their gardens and lawns.
What Is A Septic Inspection?
The term “septic inspection” refers to an evaluation of a home’s septic system by a licensed plumber who has special training in this area.
During the inspection, the plumber looks for signs of damage or malfunctioning parts in the system.
He also checks the size of the tank(s), the number of toilets, and the amount of water used.
Septic Inspections Can Save You Thousands Of Dollars Over Time
If your septic system isn’t working as well as it should be, you may find yourself paying more money than necessary for repairs.
If you don’t have regular maintenance performed on your system, you could end up with costly plumbing issues down the road.
How Much Does It Cost To Have A Septic Inspection Performed?
The costs associated with having a septic inspection performed vary depending on the type of equipment being inspected.
For example, if you’re looking at a new home, you’ll likely pay less for an inspection than if you’re buying an existing home.
Inspectors typically charge anywhere between $150 and $300 per hour. However, some inspectors offer flat-rate pricing.
These types of services usually include everything needed to perform the inspection.
They also provide recommendations about what needs to be repaired or replaced so you won’t need to spend additional money later.
Why Should You Have A Septic Inspection?
There are several reasons why you might want to consider getting a septic inspection performed.
First, it can help you avoid expensive plumbing problems in the future.
Second, it can help you determine whether or not your current system is working correctly. Finally, it can help you identify potential areas of concern.
For instance, if you notice any leaks around the drains, cracks in the tank, or sediment buildup in the tank, these are all warning signs that something isn’t right.
If you see any of these things, it’s time to schedule a septic inspection.
You shouldn’t wait too long before scheduling a septic inspection. If you do, you risk facing serious health risks.
That means you could be exposed to dangerous bacteria and chemicals.
You should also make sure you hire someone who specializes in septic systems.
There are many different types of plumbing professionals out there, but only a few specialize in inspecting septic systems.
When hiring a professional, ask them questions about their experience and qualifications.
Also, look into their reviews online. Read through customer testimonials and learn how satisfied customers were after receiving service from the company.
When choosing a professional, it’s best to choose one who offers a written warranty.
This way, you know exactly what will happen if anything goes wrong during the inspection process.
What Are Some Common Problems With Septic Systems?
While most people think of septic tanks when they hear the word “system,” there are three different components involved: the drain field, the leach line, and the main sewer pipe.
Drain fields are located near the house where wastewater is collected and stored until it can be transported away by gravity.
The pipes leading from the house to the drain field are called leach lines. Leach lines transport water and waste away from the house to the septic tank.
Finally, the main sewer pipe transports waste away from the septic tank to a treatment facility.
If any of these parts fail, sewage can back up into the house. When this happens, it can cause major damage to floors, walls, and other surfaces.
It can also lead to unpleasant odors and even structural issues.
What Happens In A Septic Inspection?
A typical septic inspection includes two phases. First, an inspector will go over the entire system with you to ensure it’s functioning properly.
Then, he’ll check for any problems. He’ll inspect the drain field, leach lines, and main sewers.
The first thing an inspector will do is take a walk around the property. He’ll examine the area surrounding the house to make sure there aren’t any problems.
He’ll also look at the yard and driveway to make sure nothing has been damaged.
Next, the inspector will enter the home. He’ll start by looking at the floor and checking for any stains or spots.
He’ll then move on to the walls and ceilings. Next, he’ll check the toilets, sinks, tubs, showers, and other fixtures.
Finally, the inspector will check the septic system itself. He’ll look at the tank, pump, and valves. He’ll also check the leach lines and drain field.
How Long Does A Septic Inspection Take?
Septic inspections typically last between 30 minutes and 2 hours. However, some companies offer extended services, which may include additional time.
For example, a full-service inspection may require anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours.
How Often Should You Get A Septic Inspection?
Most experts recommend getting a septic inspection once every five years. If your system isn’t working properly, however, you might need an inspection more often.
You should schedule a septic inspection as soon as possible if you notice any signs that something might be wrong.
For instance, if you see any leaks in your system, call your local plumbing company right away.
You should also get a septic inspection if you’re planning to sell your home.
If your system needs repairs before you put the house on the market, you could lose money on the sale price.
How Long Do Septic Systems Last?
According to the EPA, a septic system lasts about 20 years. This means that if you have a new system installed today, you’ll still be using it in 2030!
However, many systems don’t last quite so long.
According to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the average lifespan of a residential septic system is only 10 years.
Common Problems With Septic Systems
There are several common problems that people run into when they own a septic system.
These problems can range from minor annoyances to serious health hazards. Here are some examples:
Leaks in the pipes can cause significant damage to the foundation of your house. They can also cause water damage throughout the rest of the structure.
If drains become clogged, they won’t work properly.
This can result in sewage backing up into basements and crawl spaces. It can also lead to flooding and mold growth.
If your tanks are leaking, they can overflow and flood your basement. In addition, this can create a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests.
Overgrown Leach Lines
Overgrown leach lines can cause backups and overflows. In addition, they can allow bacteria to grow in the soil. This can lead to odor issues and even illness.
How To Maintain Your Septic System
Maintaining your septic system is one of the most important things you can do to keep it running smoothly. Here are a few tips:
Keep Up With Maintenance
It’s easy to forget to maintain your septic system. But if you want to avoid costly repairs down the road, you need to stay vigilant.
If you haven’t had a septic inspection in a while, schedule one now. And remember to ask your plumber how often you should get an inspection.
Check The Leaks
Leaks are common in older homes. They can cause serious damage to your system.
So when you notice water leaking (see also ‘Slab Leaks: How To Find A Water Leak Underground‘) into the basement or crawl space, call your plumber immediately.
Fix Any Problems
If you find a problem during your septic inspection, don’t ignore it. Instead, fix it right away.
Don’t wait until after the inspection to repair anything. That way, you won’t have to pay for unnecessary work later.
Septic systems are essential parts of our modern society. However, they can pose several potential threats to your health and property.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself against these risks.
By scheduling regular inspections with your local plumbers, you can ensure that your system stays healthy.
By following the advice above, you can prevent major problems like leaks and overflowing tanks.
And by maintaining your system regularly, you can make sure that it keeps working well.