Septic System Maintenance: An Introduction

Inspections To Make On A Septic System During Home Purchase

You should have a septic contractor inspect the system before buying a home with a septic system. The inspection will help you understand the system's condition and remaining life span. Below are three inspections the contractor will make as part of the assessment.

System Design

A good septic design is necessary for its durability and efficient operation. The drainfield and tank size are particularly important. The design determines the waste volume the septic can handle at any time. The sizing and design depend on the:

  • Property size
  • Household size
  • Land slope
  • Soil condition
  • Building code

For example, a four-bedroom house requires a bigger tank and drainfield than a two-bedroom house. The contractor should assess the design to confirm it can adequately serve the home. Otherwise, you might have to install a new system after buying the house.

Conditions of Different Parts

The contractor should also evaluate the current condition of different parts of the system. Below are some parts to check.

Electrical System

Some septic systems use electricity to pump waste from the tank to the drainfield. These systems have a distribution box with a pump that distributes waste to different septic system parts. The contractor should confirm that the pump, cables, and associated parts work as they should.


The septic tank holds untreated waste, so its integrity is crucial. For example, a damaged tank might leak untreated waste into the surrounding environment or groundwater. An inspection to confirm the tank's integrity is necessary.


Besides the tank, the drainfield is critical to the system's operation since it absorbs waste. However, the drainfield might lose its ability to absorb waste over time due to flooding, soil compaction, or solid waste clogging. Therefore, drainfield inspection should be part of the process.

Maintenance History

Lastly, the contractor should confirm that previous property owners properly maintained the septic system. Even a properly designed system might lose its efficiency over time if you don't maintain it well. Good septic maintenance includes regularly pumping the tank to clear accumulated solid waste, efficient water use, and responsible waste disposal.

The contractor will examine the maintenance records and the system while assessing its maintenance history. For example, the level of solid waste in the tank can reveal its maintenance history.

You should be present during the inspection. Use the opportunity to ask the contractor questions to understand the septic system's condition. Hopefully, the inspection will not reveal major issues with the system that the contractor cannot resolve.

Contact a local service to learn more about septic system inspections.

About Me

Septic System Maintenance: An Introduction

Septic systems rely on a delicate balance of specific bacteria and enzymes to properly function and avoid backups, clogs, and similar issues. These systems also need regular pumping, care, and maintenance to keep them functioning at their best. For many homeowners, the septic system is an enigma. As a result, they blindly follow recommendations found online for maintaining that tank. When that maintenance is done improperly, it can actually slow the septic system down or lead to a backup and complete system failure. That's why we created this site. Our goal is to help homeowners understand how to properly care for their septic system to keep it functioning properly. We hope the information here helps you to care for yours.



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