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A septic system inspection is one of those home maintenances tasks that you might put off, and then put off some more. Because septic exist underground in the backyard, they are often out of sight, thus out of mind. But letting it go too many flushes without an inspection can result in some major problems if the system fails.
Plus, septic system inspections are also required if you plan to sell or buy a property (commercial or residential). Even if you don’t know if you’re going to sell, keeping your septic system in good condition will save you thousands of dollars in repairs if anything does go wrong.
How often should you get a septic system inspection?
Experts say you should get a septic system inspection every three years. But here’s a dose of reality: Most homeowners never get their septic systems inspected unless there is a notable issue.
But that means homeowners get an inspection only when issues that may signal big trouble arise, such as when the toilet backs up, water takes too long to drain, or there’s an actual septic system leakage. The benefit of doing an inspection every three years (but depends on amount of bathrooms and size of tank) is to avoid major problems like these.
The three-year mark is also the maximum amount of time you should let your septic system go without being pumped out.
A problem caught at inspection can save you from having to replace the entire septic system (read: shell out a ton of money). It’s especially important to keep your septic system in good shape if you plan on selling. During closing, a certified inspection will be performed and you don’t want any last-minute surprises.
Who should perform a septic system inspection?
You’re going to want to hire a professional septic contractor for the inspection.
General home inspectors do only a limited, visual-only inspection of the septic system, we provide the service of emptying the tank and doing an evaluation of the system and its operation, to the extend possible by availability and space.
A septic contractor will look for cracks in the tank indicated by a low level of liquid, the amount of solids inside the tank and we empty the tank and clean in order to properly see all areas.
How much does a septic system inspection cost?
Cost depends on how extensive the septic inspection is as well as the size of the tank, which is usually either 1,000 or 1,500 gallons. But a basic septic system inspection typically runs between $500 to $700.
You can also reach out to your local health department to see if it performs inspections for a reduced price.
Is the home seller or buyer obligated to get an inspection?
The person who’s responsible for carrying out the inspection is determined based on where you live. In states such as Florida, it’s the buyers’ responsibility to handle inspections during their option period—part of their due diligence—unless otherwise agreed upon.
Bottom line: Ask your local real estate professional if there is a septic system at the property and to request maintenance schedules and information from seller before the inspection. It’s extremely important to ask for the location of the tank and if its accessible or not. Trying to locate a tank will incur in more expenses in order to find the access and location.
Is the seller obligated to fix any septic problems?
The responsibility to pay for septic repairs typically falls to the seller. However, repairs of any kind found at inspection are generally negotiable. Contract terms usually dictate the course of action, but sellers may have such options as doing the repairs themselves, splitting repair costs with the buyer, giving the buyer a closing credit equal to the amount of the repairs, or refusing to do anything. If an agreement on repairs isn’t reached, the buyer does have the legal right to walk away from the transaction.
In most of our commercial inspections for investors buying restaurants, there’s always going to be either and septic or grease trap system, we do inspect those also. Let us know and we will include an estimate for inspection.
We provide residential & commercial inspections tailored to the needs of the customer, call us to schedule and get more information.
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