Post # 1
Hubby and I were discussing the must-haves, would-likes, and hell-no’s for what we’re looking for in a house. Septic tanks fell into the “hell no” category for me, but hubs was more open to the idea… thinking that we would be eliminating a good chunk of houses if we nix it.
HOWEVER, I do not want to be stuck paying thousands if the thing backs up.
So- for those of you with septic tanks… or those of you who know ANYTHING about them…
1. are they really that bad? costly?
2. how much upkeep do they require?
3. should I be more open to the idea of septic tank? or stick to my guns and keep it in the hell-no category?
Post # 3
I don’t have one, but I’ve been told that an inspection should be a must, just like a home inspection. My understanding is that as long as it is in good shape, and you maintain it (like with Ridex) then it shouldn’t be an issue. Hope someone who has actual experience with one will comment!
Post # 4
My friends are getting a foreclosure & the septic tank was not good. It was a sorta newer house (built I think in the 90s?). A total of 4 people inspected the septic (I think it cost around $500) & said the property had to be put on city sewer. To fix the septic it would’ve cost around $20k. To change it to city sewer I think its somewhere between $10k-15k. Once it gets full you need to pay thousands for it to be emptied out. That’s about all I know, so my suggestion is to get a backup inspection done by someone who knows septic tanks.
Until I was 13, I lived at a place where we had a septic, never had any problems. I do remember one time they had to dig in the ground & a big truck came in & got rid of everything, & I remember it smelled really bad for at least 2 days. But I was like 10 so that’s as far as my memories of that go. Otherwise, we never had a problem with septic that I remember.
EDIT: I also remember that if the city puts in a manhole within 300 feet of your house, you HAVE to get it hooked up to city by law & you have to pay the $10k or however much it costs to do so. So lets say you get a house with a working septic tank next month & then the city does roadwork by your house next year & puts in a new manhole, you may be required by law to hook it up to the city sewer & pay for it to happen. That’s how it is here at least, idk if it varies by county/state? So you should look into that.
Post # 5
I have one. It isn’t as bad as I was thinking. If you take care of it properly you should only need to clean it every 10-15 years. We only put scott toilet paper down it and I am careful with what chemicals we use. You DO NOT want to use anti-bacterial soaps as that will mess with the ph in the tank, so you become more aware but so far so good.
Post # 6
What’s the other alternative? I thought everyone had septic tanks. FYI I don’t own a home or anything, just curious 🙂
Post # 7
@kperry3: being hooked up to city sewer. Everything goes thru pipes & idk where it goes, but the city deals with it. With a septic tank, everything sits in a giant canister on your property, underground.
Post # 8
I grew up with septic and have one now. It would not be my first choice, but in my part of town, there are no city sewers.
Definitely have it inspected and maintenance is key. A PP posted about having it cleaned every 10-15 years? Uhhh…no. Every year if you have a family, maybe a little less often if it’s just the two of you. Also, it shouldn’t cost more than a couple hundred to have it done.
Our is probably going to have to be replaced in the next 5 years and we aren’t looking forward to that bill. However, if we were hooked up to city sewers and they need replacing/upgrading, we would be assessed for that too.
I never heard that about the anti-bacterial soap. I will have to do some digging in further on that one…
Bottom line, if something/somewhere is your dream place to live at a great price, I wouldn’t walk away. But do your homework first.
Post # 9
My family had a seasonal property that was on septic. Despite it being really old there were never any problems. Like others have mentioned, you have to be aware of certain things going into the septic (detergents, solids etc.) and be proactive about maintenance but if you do these little things normally you should be fine.
As for how often its pumped I think that depends entirely on the situation. Septic tanks vary in size/capacity. Some will be sized for a 3 bedroom home, some bigger and smaller… but of course the more people you have living there, the quicker it will fill up. I can imagine every 10-15 years is possible, although probably not as common, same for pumping every year. Now that my parents built their year-round home on a new septic they’re assuming they’ll have to pump about every 5 years.
Post # 10
We just closed on our house and have a septic tank, I also grew up in a house with one. They aren’t that bad as long you take care of them like a person should. You have be careful what you put down your drains and flush down the toilet (yes, that means you can’t flush your girl products, a lot of people forget this). Our county requires you get it pumped every 3 years. The previous owners had it cleaned out 2 years ago, but we are going to do it soon because we don’t know how they managed it.
You definetly need to get the previous owners certificates and find out how often and when they pumped it last. I hear that most foreclosure homes have bad septics, and cost of a lot to replace.
Post # 11
We house-sat for 5 months people who had a septic tank and it backed up into their basement. It was good for us, in a way because the actual owners took the blame because they said they NEVER had it pumped out. Ick.
Also in the spring and fall, you are not suppose to walk on the septic field at all.
Post # 12
We have one and in 13 years have only had it pumped out twice. We do nothing special to maintain it except use Scott toilet tissue. Pumping out was less than $300. the last time, so iits not a big deal. We knew nothing about them when we bought, and the inspection of it showed a minor crack which was fixed before settlement. I wouldn’t rule out a house because of it. City sewers can and do back up too.
Post # 13
My fiance’ and I are buying a home with a septic tank. I have never lived with a septic tank before so this thread has been really useful (i.e., Scott tissue, grease, etc.). We are going through the inspection process right now and paid $195 for inspection & certification + $395 for pumping. I was expecting to pay a whole lot more, like in the thousands, so the cost was a nice surprise. The house is 33 years old.