Septic tanks can be a little scary if you have always relied on a public sewer system. So if you are considering buying a home with a septic system instead, this will definitely take some getting used to for you as a homeowner. However, the last thing you want to do is buy a home with a septic tank and system and then discover you have also inherited huge problems left behind by the previous owner. Thankfully, there are three sneaky signs of septic issues you can usually track down during a brief home showing to let you know whether the septic tank is or could soon be in trouble.
There are unexplained smells and soggy areas in the yard.
Pay close attention to odd odors you catch a whiff of outside, especially if the foul odors are accompanied by soggy or muddy areas near the septic tank. Ask the homeowner or realtor to show you where the tank is buried and get a closer look. If you do see saturated ground and smell bad odors, this is a good indicator that the septic tank is in desperate need of a pumping or that it is deteriorating and leaking, which means it will have to be replaced.
When you flush the toilet, water regurgitates to other drains in the house.
When a septic system is working as normal, a flush of the toilet will lead to immediate release of the contents inside of the bowl. However, if the septic tank has issues or is potentially clogged, water can regurgitate back up through the septic lines and end up in sinks or shower drains bubbling up. So if you flush the toilet in a house you plan to buy and see unexplained back-flow show up in other drains, this is definitely a sign that something is up.
The ground directly above the septic tank is badly sunken.
One of the biggest problems with outdated tanks, especially those that are fabricated of steel, is the fact that they deteriorate with enough age, and usually the lid and baffles on top will be the first things to go. This will lead to a noticeable sinking of the ground directly over the tank on the property.
The fact is, no one wants to invest in a home and find that there are problems they did not see. If you suspect a home has septic-tank issues, it is a good idea to have the septic system assessed by a professional such as Zeb Watts Septic & Underground, Inc. before you make an offer.