It is important to have your septic tank inspected on a regular basis. Your health department may even require it on a set schedule. An inspection could be the only way to discover whether your tank is leaking solid sewage or destroying your drainfield. Here's when you should consider having a septic inspection done and what an inspector looks for.
When To Have A Septic Inspection
It's common to have a septic tank inspected as part of the home-buying process so you know the tank is in good shape before you buy a property. An inspection might also be required every few years, and that often coincides with when your tank needs to be pumped. You should also have an inspection done if your septic system is having trouble such as leaking or backing up.
How A Septic Inspection Is Done
You might have a visual inspection done, or you might get a full inspection. This depends on the reason for the inspection. Inspections before buying a home might be just visual since home inspectors typically just look at what they can see rather than dig deep into your septic system.
When a detailed report is needed, such as for a health department inspection or to pinpoint a problem, a more comprehensive full inspection is needed.
What A Septic Inspection Includes
The inspector makes a visual inspection of the grounds around your system to look for wet spots that indicate leaks. They may also flush your toilets and drain water into the tank to see how the tank performs. They'll look at things like the level of water in the tank and slow drainage that could indicate clogs.
If the inspection includes pumping the tank, the inspector can get a better view of the tank to look for cracks. They'll also be able to check the baffles to see if they're clogged or damaged. Another reason to pump the tank for an inspection is that the plumber can check for backflow from the drainfield that empties into the tank as it's being flushed.
The inspector might even do a dye test that shows how much water empties from your home and what happens as your system is put to use. All these checks let the inspector know if there is a problem with the tank, drains, distribution box, or drainfield. The problems might be leaks or clogs.
If a problem is suspected, further investigation could be needed, including a camera inspection or digging up part of the system for a closer look at the parts.