What To Know About A Septic System Inspection
If you are a homeowner, it is important to know about septic system inspections. If there are any problems with your septic system, the inspector will let you know so that you can take corrective action. In this guide, we will discuss what homeowners should know about septic system inspections.
What is a Septic System Inspection?
A septic system inspection is a process where a professional comes to your home and inspects your septic tank and leach field to make sure everything is working properly. This inspection is a comprehensive evaluation of your septic system.
The inspector will look at the condition of your septic tank, leach field, and soil. They will also check for any signs of leaks or other problems. This should be done every few years to ensure proper upkeep of your system.
Understanding the Inspection Process
A septic system inspection takes time. Homeowners should understand that the inspector will need to access all parts of the septic system in order to do a thorough inspection and ensure that there are no hazards.
Here is a quick guide to help you understand the septic inspection process:
Locating the Tank
This is usually done by looking at a plot map or site plan of your property. You can find the septic tank by looking at the county records. If you do not have either of these, the inspector should be able to find your septic system by doing a visual inspection of your property.
Inspecting the Tank
Once the septic tank has been located, the inspector will open the tank and inspect the inside.
They will look for any signs of leaks or other problems such as corrosion. The inspector will also take a sample of the wastewater in the tank.
The inspector will then observe the leach field and will look for any signs of issues. The inspector may also take a sample of the wastewater in the leach field.
Determining the Solid Level
The inspector will use a solid testing instrument, which is a metal pipe with a weighted end, to determine the level of solid sludge in your septic tank. Too high a level of solids can be indicative of an issue in the breaking down of the waste within your system.
The inspector will also take note of the color and odor of the wastewater in the tank.
Testing for Leaks
The inspector will use a dye test to check for any leaks in your septic system.
To do this, the inspector will add a non-toxic dye to your septic tank and then observe the leach field for any signs of the dye. If there are no leaks, the dye should not be present in the leach field.
Inspecting the Baffles
The baffles are the pipes that connect your septic tank to your leach field. The inspector will check that these regulating valves are working properly and are firmly attached to the tank’s inlet and outlet pipes. Over time, these baffles can become clogged with sludge, which will cause the septic tank to fill up faster and lead to greater problems.
Checking Filters & Water Flow
The effluent filter located on the outlet pipe of the tank also prevents solids from flowing into the leach field and causing contamination of groundwater. A septic tank inspection checks if this filter is working properly and not clogged.
Lastly, the inspector will assess the pattern of the water flow in the leach field. This will help them to determine if there are any blockages in the leach field.
Why are Septic System Inspections Important?
Septic inspections are important in order to ensure that your system is working properly and to identify any potential problems before they become larger and more expensive issues.
By having your system regularly inspected, you can catch small problems before they turn into big ones, allowing you to take steps to fix them before they cause damage to your septic system and connected property.
The Two Types of Septic Inspections
This is a basic inspection where the inspector looks at the condition of your septic tank and the surrounding soil. This type of inspection is recommended every few years to check for any signs of problems or damage.
A full septic tank inspection will do all of the above but it will also include a test of the leach field. This type of inspection is recommended every couple of years to ensure that your septic system is working properly and has no damage.
The inspector will also use a probe to measure the rate at which water leaves the tank and enters the soil of the leach field. They will also look for signs of saturation, flooding, improper grading, excessive vegetation and ponding of waste water.
How Inspectors Locate Your Septic Tank
Before an inspection can take place, the inspector will need to locate your septic tank. The inspector will use a variety of methods to find your tank, including:
How Long Does an Inspection Take?
A septic system inspection usually takes between two and three hours. However, this can vary depending on the size of your property and the condition of your septic system.
The inspector will also need to allow time for the dye test, which can take up to an hour. It’s important to note that a septic system inspection is not the same as a septic tank pumping. You can learn about the cost of septic tank pumping here. A full system inspection is an annual or bi-annual check on the general function of your tanks and fields, while septic tank pumping removes all the solids from your tank.
What Should You Do Before a Septic Tank Inspection?
There are a few things that you should do before a septic tank inspection:
A Septic Tank Inspection Checklist
Performing inspection on the surface of the septic tank area before opening it:
Safety Warnings for Septic System Inspectors
There are a few safety warnings that septic system inspectors should be aware of:
1. Gas Build-up
Septic tanks can produce methane gas. This gas is flammable and can be explosive. If you smell gas, do not enter the tank.
2. Electrical Hazards
Electrical wires are often buried near septic tanks and can be attached to various pumps and monitoring systems. Caution should be exercised when working around live wires.
Septic tank inspectors should always wear a respirator when inspecting a septic tank. This is to protect them from the bacteria, fumes and gasses that can be dangerous if inhaled.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are septic inspections mandatory by law?
No, septic inspections are not currently required by law. However, many homeowners insurance policies require an annual inspection for homes with septic systems. Septic inspections are also typically performed during the sale of a property with said system.
Do I need a permit to install a septic system?
In most cases, yes. You will need to obtain a permit from your local health department before you can install a septic system.
How does a distribution box work?
A distribution box is a small, watertight box that is installed between the septic tank and the leach field. It is used to distribute effluent or the waste water from the tank evenly across the leach field.
How often should I have a septic inspection?
It is generally recommended that you have your septic system inspected every two to three years. However, this varies depending on the condition of your system and the type of inspection you are having done.