San Diego Home Inspections — How do septic systems work? (part two)

Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Absolute Realty RS284559

Here is another great post by Russel Ray about septic systems.  If you have one in your yard or are considering purchasing a home that has this instead of a public system, then this is a must read.

Thanks Russel!

http://www.russel-ray.comCall Russel Ray for all your home inspection needs

How do septic systems work?
(part two)

Part one is right here

http://www.russel-ray.comPerhaps the most critical part of your septic system is the septic tank.

Back in the mid-1970s when I was building and repairing tanks in Texas, the septic tank was a large concrete box built below ground level and to very specific dimensions and requirements.

If the plumber didn't understand concrete, or the concrete guy didn't understand plumbing, there was lots of room for errors that would create problems with the system. Often the problems manifested themselves just months after installation.

http://www.russel-ray.comThe minimum size back in the mid-1970s in Texas was 500 gallons. Larger sizes were required based on the number of rooms in the house, and the number of rooms was related to the building permit.

A problem often arose when the concrete tank had to be replaced and the owners couldn't afford the same size tank, so they opted for a smaller size. The city jurisdiction often didn't get involved in replacement tanks, which led to problems later on, especially if a larger family moved in.

Technology has come a long way in just 35 years. Concrete boxes are rarely built anymore because there are ready-made septic tanks in many sizes built of plastic, fiberglass, or polyethylene. In fact, if you wanted the Rolls Royce of septic tanks, there are now super duper tanks on the market similar to this one:

Another problem with septic tanks is that many people don't document the location of the tank (or the leach field) on their property. If you have a problem and the tank lid location isn't known, you can run up "location charges" before any real work ever gets done.

Look at the picture below and you'll see a riser. That's one way to keep track of the location of the tank. We can make the riser as high as necessary so that the tank lid is at ground level. Put a potted plant on the lid and you're good to go, always knowing where your septic tank is. If you don't know where your septic tank is, now might be a good time to locate it. Once you do, note it and take pictures of its location, and keep that information with all your other valuable information about your home.

Next we'll work on understanding your septic tank, how it works, how to maintain it, what not to do to it, and how to help it along. 

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