SEPTIC INSPECTION EXPLAINED

A House Without City Sewer

If you are buying a home without city sewer available then it will have one of two types of sewer systems, septic system or aerobic system are the most common types in the Home inspection report i will identify the type . With proper maintenance and proper initial installation of the system these systems can give you many years of service. I will help you to understand the two types a little more and what I look for in my home inspection of these systems.

Description of a Septic System and Inspection

How a Septic System works and its components, there is a tank or tanks on a larger home that collects the solids and water from the house the tanks are letting the solids settle to the bottom and the water drains off of the top of the tank into the ground using pipes with holes in them that are called lateral lines these lines are covered in a ditch with gravel and sand on top of the gravel over a large circular area most of the time. The gravel and sand help to get the water to absorb into the ground and rise to the surface to evaporate into the air or to be used by the grasses and plants around the lateral lines. In some sandy soils the water will just drain down into the ground. Issues with this type system are that the tanks are full of solids or draining solids into the drain fields clogging up the gravel, pipes and the absorption of the water into the ground. Ways to tell if there is an issue in the lateral lines is if there is water on top of the ground or draining out of the ground and the evenness of the grass growth is also a good indicator this is some of what I look for. When you’re buying a house with a septic system and I am doing the home inspection I always recommend having the tanks pumped or a visual inspection of them for solids so you know when it was done or how much solids are in the tank and the solids will not drain into the drainage field. When the septic system professional is there have him look at the entire system giving his opinion. It is always good to get his opinions.

Inspection of Aerobic Septic System and the Components

Aerobic systems are similar to septic systems in that they both use natural processes to treat wastewater. But unlike septic system, the aerobic treatment process requires oxygen and clorine. Aerobic treatment units use a mechanism to inject and circulate air inside the treatment tank, which accelerates or speeds up the treatment process. This mechanism requires electricity to operate. For this reason, aerobic systems cost more to operate and need more routine maintenance (every two years in Texas) than most septic systems. However, when properly operated and maintained, aerobic systems can provide a high quality wastewater treatment alternative to septic systems. This is the system that is installed in Texas at this time and replacement of older Septic systems that are not working properly. These systems have a tank and aerator and to drain the water they use sprinklers on top of the ground much like a sprinkler system to water the grass. Some systems have an air pump next to the house with a control panel to operate the system and others have a mixing type propeller to aerate the mixture. On these systems I make sure that the sprinklers are spraying properly and that the air pump is not making a lot of noise. This system will have to be inspected every two years by a licensed professional. Asking the previous owner when it was done is a good idea or have it Inspected when you get your Home inspection done.