When it comes to buying a home, toilets and septic systems aren’t something most people want to think about. And while it may not be as exciting as designing your bedroom or kitchen, your plumbing should be a top priority. If you’re in the market for a new home with a septic system, here’s what you should know.
Buying a House with a Septic System
If your home isn’t served by a municipal sewer system, you’ll likely need a septic tank — a standalone system designed to independently dispose of and treat wastewater.
Are Septic Tanks Common?
Septic systems are a lot more common than you may think. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), one in five U.S. homes have septic tanks. Septic systems also aren’t just a feature in rural homes, many urban and suburban homes rely on them as well.
Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home with a Septic System
- How often does a tank need to be emptied? The average tank needs to be pumped every three to five years, however exactly how often depends on how large the tank is and how many people live in the home it’s connected to.
- What are the signs of a failing tank? Keep an eye out for bad odors, slow draining, wet spots in your yard, and “gurgling” fixtures.
- How old is the tank? A new septic tank costs between $3,000 and $7,000, so be sure yours isn’t on its way out.