If you are in the process of buying a new home, it is in your best interest to have the septic system inspected by a professional, even if you are hiring a home inspector. A home inspector will assess the basic condition of the visible plumbing of the home, but will not conduct a detailed assessment of the septic system in particular.
Most septic inspections routinely conduct a dye test, which involves injecting a fluorescent dye into the septic system. If dye rises and shows up on the surface of the ground, it is indicated that there is a septic system failure.
Depending on your situation, you may also want to ask for an “open pit test.” This involves pumping out the tank and removing dirt that covers the top of it and the distribution line. Mirrors or video cameras are then lowered into the tank, providing a thorough inspection. These tests are a bit on the expensive side, but if it prevents replacing the entire septic system for $15,000, then it is much worth it. Septic inspection prices can range anywhere from $400 to $600, depending on factors such as location and ease of access.
While the professional inspector is onsite, it never hurts to ask if your system meets the current code requirements. We also advise discussing your water usage needs to determine if your system can handle it.
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