If you're building a house or you're a home buyer looking at a house with a septic system, you might be concerned at the idea of maintaining a septic tank. Septic systems come with homes that don't have access to municipal sewers. While initial installation or replacement of a septic tank can cost anywhere between $3,000-$10,000, continued maintenance is usually not a huge investment and with proper maintenance systems typically last for several decades.
Septic systems work by containing solid waste in an underground tank. Over time, the amount of solids will build up and decrease the capacity of the tank. If this situation is not dealt with, the solids can begin to contaminate the soil around the tank, leading to more expensive repairs. To keep the system functioning properly, the tank must be pumped out periodically by a professional.
How often you'll need to pump your septic tank depends on the size of your tank and how much water your household uses, but a good rule of thumb is that it will need to be done every one to three years. The cost of pumping your tank depends on the capacity of your tank and your location, but you should expect to pay $100-300 dollars for the job. In addition to having the tank pumped, it's a good idea to also have it cleaned at the same time.
With proper maintenance a system shouldn't need repairs often. When needed, repairs range from minor such as replacing a filter to major such as doing extensive work on the drain field.
To keep your system healthy, pay attention to what you're flushing down the pipes-- don't flush things that could cause backups such as coffee grounds or cooking grease, and don't use toilet paper that won't break down in water. Finally, a functioning septic system has bacteria helping the process along, so avoid sending large volumes of harsh chemicals down the pipes to keep bacteria populations healthy.
A well-functioning septic system is soundless and odorless. If you're noticing a bad odor, drains that back up or gurgling coming from your pipes, you'll need to get a professional in to take a look. If you're thinking of buying a home with a septic tank system, make sure to get a professional inspection of the system to make sure the entire system is in good shape.
The good news is that there are tax credits available to homeowners for septic system installment, upkeep and replacement. For instance, Massachusetts offers a tax credit up to $6,000 for homeowners who need to install or replace a septic system. Other states offer specific credits for septic system repair or allow homeowners to include septic repair in home maintenance credits.
If a septic system is in your future, it isn't cause for alarm. Simply make sure to inspect the system before buying. With proper maintenance, your septic tank can remain the last thing on your mind. To learn more, contact a company such as A-1 Sewer Service with any questions or concerns you have.