Having regular septic inspections is crucial for septic system owners. Not to be confused with septic pumpings where the tank is cleared of solid waste, examinations consist of a professional taking a detailed look at all components of the system. The purpose of these inspections is to ensure that all proponents of the septic system are functioning correctly. If the inspector locates an issue, he should diagnose it and provide repairment options.

Septic system inspections come in two forms: full and visual. A full inspection is when the septic system is pumped as a part of the process, while a visual inspection only involves taking a look at the system. Being the cheaper option, many home buyers choose to go with visual inspections. Although it may save money at the moment, it can end up costing thousands of dollars down the road.

Inside Visual Inspections

Home inspectors typically perform visual inspections. Septic companies may also provide this service if the prospective homeowner is unconcerned about the wellbeing of the system and is only fulfilling a request from the mortgage company. The inspector simply:

  • Runs water in the home
  • Flushes commodes
  • Looks out for leaks

The inspector does not:

  • Locate the septic tank
  • Inspect inlets and outlets
  • Check drain field efficiency

Inspectors will only open or check the septic system if the lid is exposed. If not, the hub of the septic system goes unassessed. If they do not notice any back up in plumbing or water surfacing, they assume that the system is in good shape. Such bare minimum inspections do not attest to the efficacy of a septic system. They only show that the toilets flush.

Visual Inspection Risks

The greatest disadvantage of visual inspections is that one can only account for what meets the eye. Any hidden issues go unnoticed, and the homeowner will most likely not realize the problem until it’s too late. The top complications that may be missed during a visual inspection include:

  • Leaking tank
  • Invasive roots
  • Septic backflow
  • Insecure baffles
  • Thickness of sludge in tank
  • Size of tank
  • Overfull tank
  • Security of dividing wall

Any one or a combination of these issues may cause the entire system to fail, which will require a septic system replacement. In a situation where a visual inspection is performed as a prerequisite to purchasing a home, the new homeowner may find themselves solely responsible for affording any and all septic system repairs.