Are you considering buying a house with a septic system? If so, it’s vital to have an inspection done. A professional home inspector can ensure that the septic system is working correctly and that there aren’t any problems waiting to surprise you down the road. Let’s learn the three reasons why getting a septic inspection is essential, then the details on getting the job done the right way.

How Does a Septic System Work?

A septic system is a self-contained, underground wastewater treatment system. It is typically used in areas that are not connected to a municipal sewer system. The system consists of a septic tank, a distribution box, and a drain field.

The septic tank is a large, watertight container that is buried in the ground. It is designed to hold wastewater from the home, such as from toilets, sinks, showers, and washing machines. The tank is divided into two chambers. The first chamber is where the wastewater enters and is allowed to settle. The heavier solids settle to the bottom and form a sludge layer, while the lighter solids float to the top and form a scum layer. Bacteria in the tank break down the solids, and the liquid wastewater is then allowed to flow into the second chamber.

The distribution box is connected to the septic tank and is used to evenly distribute the wastewater to the drain field. The drain field is a series of perforated pipes that are buried in the ground. The wastewater is slowly released from the pipes and is filtered through the soil. The soil acts as a natural filter, removing any remaining solids and bacteria. The filtered wastewater is then absorbed into the ground.

Septic Inspection When Buying a House

Three Reasons to Get to Septic Inspection

Having your septic tank inspected helps protect your investment in the property. Septic tanks need regular maintenance and repairs over time, which can be costly if not taken care of right away. By investing in an initial inspection, you may save yourself thousands of dollars in potential repair costs later. Plus, by inspecting before closing on the property, you’ll be able to negotiate for any needed repairs or replacements up front as part of the sale agreement.

Second, having your home inspected gives you peace of mind knowing everything is in good order upon purchase. There’s nothing worse than moving into a new home only to find out that something isn’t working as it should be, especially when it comes to major components such as your septic system. Investing in an inspection provides assurance that everything is running smoothly and eliminates nasty surprises after signing on the dotted line.

Finally, hiring a qualified inspector ensures all safety regulations are met and no health risks exist due to improper installation or operation of the system. Home inspectors are certified professionals who understand local building codes and environmental regulations related to septic systems—a level of expertise most homeowners don’t possess themselves.

What is a Septic Inspection?

Many homeowners have never previously had to deal with septic systems, so how do they work?

A septic system is a central plumbing network in many homes that manages waste from toilets and sinks. It consists of two parts: a tank, where solids settle to the bottom, and a drain field, which disperses liquids into the ground.

When buying a home, a septic inspection determines whether these components are functioning properly and whether they should be repaired or replaced. This involves evaluating the condition of the tank and the drain field and inspecting any associated piping. During this process, an experienced inspector will check for signs of contamination and assess whether any damage has been done to either component.

Who Pays for Septic Inspection When Buying a House?

Typically, the buyer pays for the septic inspection when buying a house. This is usually negotiated as part of the purchase agreement. The cost of the inspection can vary depending on the size of the septic system and the complexity of the inspection.

Do Home Inspectors Check Septic Tanks?

Yes, in most cases home inspectors will inspect septic tanks and associated systems. The inspector will check the tank, the inlet and outlet pipes, the distribution box, and the soil absorption field.

What Happens During a Septic Inspection?

A septic inspection generally involves a visual inspection of the septic tank and system components. This includes evaluating the size and condition of the tank, the inlet and outlet pipes, the distribution box, and the drain field. The inspector will also check for any signs of water or sewage backup, clogs, leaks, or overflow. The inspector may also check to make sure the tank is properly pumped and the system is functioning correctly. If necessary, the inspector may take samples of the soil and liquid in the system. The inspector may also provide recommendations for any repairs or maintenance that may need to be done.

How Long Does a Septic Inspection Take?

The length of a septic inspection depends on the size of the septic system and the complexity of the inspection. Most inspections take between two and three hours, but some inspections can take as long as four or five hours.

Key Benefits of Septic Inspections

  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your system is functioning properly will give you peace of mind when making such a large purchase.

  • Understanding System Functionality: A professional inspector will be able to inform you about how your current or potential systems work, giving you a better understanding of what’s involved in taking care of it.

  • Identifying Potential Issues: A thorough septic inspection allows for any existing issues to be identified early on so that they can be addressed quickly with minimal disruption down the road.

A septic inspection provides invaluable information regarding the condition and functionality of a property’s waste management system. It assures homebuyers that their new home won’t suffer costly repairs due to improper maintenance or installation. Additionally, it ensures that any potential problems can be resolved before closing on the sale.

Finding a Certified Inspector

Only use certified inspectors for your septic system. Use these tips to find the right inspector:

  • Ask for friends and family recommendations.
  • Ask for realtor recommendations.
  • Use online reviews and accreditation.
  • Be 100% sure your inspector has all applicable licensing.
  • Only use someone with plenty of proven local experience.

How Much Do Septic Inspections Cost?

The costs of a septic inspection vary depending on factors such as the size and condition of the system being inspected. Generally, here is what to expect:

  • Certified Inspector Cost – This can range from $200-$500, depending on your location and other variables like access to the property and distance traveled by the inspector.
  • Septic Tank Inspection Cost – If there are any issues identified during the initial visual assessment or if further testing is required, then additional fees may apply, which could be anywhere between $50-$250 depending on how complex the issue is.
  • House Septic Inspection Cost – Depending on your local area’s regulations, you may need to pay an additional fee for obtaining a report/certificate from your local authority to obtain an official clearance certificate after the septic inspection process is completed.

It’s important to factor in all these costs before deciding whether to get a septic tank inspection done for your potential new home. In addition, make sure that you understand exactly what services will be provided by your certified inspector, so there aren’t any surprises down the line when it comes time to pay up.

Summarizing Septic Inspections When Buying a House

Should I get a septic inspection when buying a house? Yes, you should get a septic inspection when buying a house. Septic systems are a major component of any home and can be costly to repair or replace, so it is important to make sure the system is in good condition before buying a house. If you’re considering buying a house, getting a septic inspection is essential. It can save you time, money, and headaches down the line by ensuring that your home is in good condition from the start. A professional inspector will be able to quickly identify any potential problems with the system and help you determine if further investigation or repair is necessary. With all the advantages associated with this type of inspection, it would be wise to take advantage of them before making such an important decision.

In short, getting a septic inspection when buying a house may seem like an unnecessary expense at first glance, but it pays off tenfold in peace of mind alone. Every minute spent having an experienced inspector look over your new property is worth its weight in gold – so take your time with it: invest in your happiness now and ensure that your dream home remains perfect for years to come.


Tatyana Sturm-Storck

Tatyana and Aaron have over 36 years of combined experience in buying, selling, and investing in real estate. Between 2020 and 2022 they had 282 buy/sell transactions. Approximately 70% of those transactions were in Aurora, Centennial, and Parker.