Answering a Few Common Questions About Septic Systems

There are plenty of homes in our area that aren’t connected to their respective town’s septic system. Here are a few things you should know about these homes. 
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Today I am joined by Lee Ann Grajales, a listing specialist on the Joy Daniels Real Estate Team. Lee Ann is a bit of a “road warrior” in our office and often travels to some of the more northern locations of our traditional marketing area to service clients. She’s joining me to answer a few questions about the differences between selling homes with septic sewer systems versus the more common public sewer system. When would a home have a private septic sewer system instead of a public sewer system? Basically, cities, towns, and surrounding areas will be on sewer systems that are maintained by the local public works department. If a neighborhood is outside the area serviced by the local public sewer system, these homes will generally use a private septic system to handle their sewage and wastewater. What are some of the things sellers and buyers should be aware of when selling and purchasing a home with a private septic system? First off, I would say that buyers should not be frightened away by homes with septic systems. Most buyers have never had any experience with them. If properly maintained, septic systems can last the life of the home. Also, it is very important that the seller is aware and discloses whether they have a traditional septic system, which should be pumped every three years, versus a “holding tank” septic system, which has no drain field and may need to be pumped monthly. Another critical factor is knowing exactly where the system is located to avoid accidentally drilling into the covering of the system.
Buyers shouldn’t be frightened by homes with their own septic systems.
What are some best practices for properly maintaining a septic system?

At a minimum, do NOT flush paper towels, baby wipes, cigarettes, coffee grounds, cat litter, medications, or hazardous materials. Avoid dumping grease, oils, or fats down the drain, as they may solidify and contribute to blockages. A neat trick I picked up at a seminar was flushing a dime sized piece of baker’s yeast every three months to maintain healthy bacteria growth.

When selling a home with a septic system, what should the buyer and seller keep in mind regarding inspections?

Normally, the buyer pays for all the inspections.  However, per the agreement of sale, if it is required by the inspection company, the seller must pump the septic tank at their own expense. Buyers want a clean tank! When a property has been vacant for longer than a few weeks, a hydraulic load test is often needed. This test verifies that the system can efficiently receive and filter a volume of liquid that would normally pass through the tank on a “peak flow” day.  

I want to thank Lee Ann for all the great information she had to share with us today. Speaking from personal experience, I had a septic system in every home I lived in up until last year. Lee Ann was right on the money when she said that a well-maintained septic system should last the life of the home. If you want to download a copy of “Tips and Care for the Health of Your Septic System,” compliments of Trimmer Home Inspections, click on the link below or call our office at 717-695-3177 and ask for a copy to be sent to you.

At the Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, we have a team of qualified, experienced listing partners and buyer's specialists who are ready to work with you to make every real estate process a positive experience. If you or someone you know is ready to buy or sell a home, give us a call today at 717-695-3177, email, or visit us online at Until next time, make it a great week!