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SEPTIC SYSTEM INSPECT DIAGNOSE REPAIR
SEPTIC CARE INSTRUCTIONS
SEPTIC D-BOX INSTALL REPAIR
SEPTIC DRAINFIELD FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SEPTIC DYE TEST PROCEDURE
SEPTIC FAILURE SIGNS
SEPTIC INSPECTION & TEST GUIDE
SEPTIC LIFE EXPECTANCY
SEPTIC SUPPLIES & PARTS
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN ALTERNATIVES
SEPTIC SYSTEM DESIGN BASICS
SEPTIC SYSTEMS, HOME BUYERS GUIDE to
SEPTIC SYSTEM SAFETY WARNINGS
SEPTIC TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS
SEWAGE BACKUP PREVENTION
SEWAGE EJECTOR / GRINDER PUMPS
SEWER GAS ODORS
SEWER LINE REPLACEMENT
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
SOAKAWAY BED FAILURE DIAGNOSIS
SULPHUR & SEWER GAS SMELL SOURCES
TOILETS, INSPECT, INSTALL, REPAIR
TRAPS on PLUMBING FIXTURES
TREATMENTS & CHEMICALS, SEPTIC
VIDEO GUIDES: Septic Videos
WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES
WATER SOFTENERS & CONDITIONERS
WATER SUPPLY & DRAIN PIPING
WATER, WELLS, WATER TANKS: TESTING GUIDE
WASHING MACHINES & SEPTIC SYSTEMS
WASTEWATER TREATMENT BASICS
WINTERIZE A BUILDING
Buying a home? when to pump the septic tank: this document provides advice for home buyers who are buying a property with a private septic system, that is, a septic tank and a leach field or drainfield or similar soil absorption system. Chapter 5 in this file describes detail: questions to ask about the septic system, how to perform the visual septic inspection, ordering the loading and septic dye test (the too-obvious results of a dye test at a problem site are in the photo at left), pumping the septic tank, and finding additional information about the septic system.
We explain how to be sure your septic inspection and septic test are conducted properly. We tell you where to get more septic system information about a given property, and we warn of unsanitary or dangerous site conditions.
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After performing the septic loading and dye test and obtaining whatever historical maintenance and repair information you can obtain from the prior owner, you may want a septic contractor to located, open, pump, and inspect the septic tank.
The decision to include this next and more invasive step depends on what you have already learned about the age, history, and probable condition of the system. The pumping decision should be advised by the visual inspection, site history, and loading/dye test results.
Warning: [Repeated from the Dye Test discussion] Do not pump the septic tank before the loading and dye test. Depending on its size an empty septic tank could require 2-3 days' worth of water to re-fill the tank.
Testing by running water into an empty septic tank means that the "loading water" run into the system during the dye test procedure is simply filling the tank rather than testing the ability of the drain field to absorb effluent.
Pumping a septic tank prior to purchasing a home may or may not be necessary, depending on the age and service history of the system and the results of the visual inspection and loading and dye test.
For example, if a tank is less than two years old or was pumped in the last year, and if there are no other signs of septic problems at the site, we might defer the pumpout. In this case we would strongly recommend calling the pumper to ask about the condition of the system at the time they last cleaned it.
But pumping the tank for diagnostic reasons can be helpful in any case. Important additional information, available when the tank is pumped, can tell you if it was past-due for pumping (risking damaging the drain fields) and if it is damaged.
You'll also know exactly where the tank is, if it's concrete, steel, fiberglass or home made, if it has been damaged, if the baffles are broken, if the tank has been flooded (indicating a blocked drainfield), and if the tank has a safe cover.
Even if there are no signs of trouble from the inspection and dye test, if nothing is known about the system history, or if it is known that the system has not been opened and pumped in 3 years or longer, this step is strongly advised.
If the septic tank has been pumped quite recently, you should call the pumping contractor to ask if, at the time of pumping, the contractor observed any indications of system problems or upcoming system repairs.
This is a subchapter of "5-HOW TO INSPECT & TEST When, Where, Why, and How to Inspect and Test a Septic System - for Home Buyers, Step-by-Step" which can be found at HOME BUYER'S SEPTIC TEST
Actually inspecting the septic system, diagnosing any problems or failures, and inspecting conditions inside the septic tank will tell us whether the tank is being pumped at the correct frequency.
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