Should you buy a house with a bad septic system? You might wrestle with this question if you fall in love with a home only to find out during the home inspection that the septic system is in serious disrepair.
Properties usually have septic systems for one of two reasons: The home is in a rural area with no public sewer available or the home is older, and while it previously didn’t have access to a public sewer, it now does—but may have not been hooked up yet.
The good news is that a bad septic system doesn’t automatically mean you should flush your hopes of purchasing the home. Here’s when a bad septic system is a deal breaker and when it’s not.
Bad septic system: Repair or replace?
Septics are a simple system—water goes into the septic tank and displaces the same amount of water that travels to the drain field.
Common problems with septics include tree roots impacting the soil around the drain field. A simple fix could be as easy as clearing the roots. Or a septic may be failing because a tank baffle—what separates a tank from the drain field—needs repairing. In both cases, a septic professional can inspect the system and determine if a repair is possible. Such minor repairs may range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.
But here’s the thing: If there isn’t an easy fix available, a bad septic will need to be completely replaced, or it will fail. Failure means the septic can no longer treat and distribute wastewater. Signs that a house needs a new septic system include toilets that drain slowly and standing wastewater on the ground above the drain field.
For more information, contact Morse Engineering and Construction.