The Crappy Reality of Septic Inspections

opening to septic tank

I probably spent 5 minutes thinking of a funny pun title for this blog. There are some pretty creative septic company names out there and plenty of puns to go along with them. “We’re #1 in #2!”

Despite being the subject of funny puns, septic inspections are extremely important and can save you thousands of dollars. Some of our buyer clients have had inspections result in saving as much as $12,000 to have the seller completely replace the existing system.

The Problem

Septic systems are entirely underground. Out of sight, out of mind. Unless you’re in the construction/inspection business, you likely never think about your septic system. This is very apparent when we pop the lids of these tanks. I’ll spare you the gory details, but things like tampons, “flushable” wipes, toys, and a heavy build up of oil-based products are usually found in a tank that has been in use for some time.

The long and the short of it is that people generally do not know how to take care of a septic tank. Over years of living in the home, this results in unseen damages to the tank and the septic field.

The Solution

Septic companies recommend having the tank pumped and inspected every 3-5 years. Given the fact that most people don’t know where their tank is buried, it’s apparent to us that this doesn’t happen. On a monthly basis, septic tanks should be “recharged” with a good bacteria. Most people buy a product online, but you could flush a packet of yeast to accomplish the same thing (just more expensive). The good bacteria in the tank is what breaks down the solids and turns it in to affluent (liquid). That affluent is then able to leave the tank, go out in to the septic field, and then filter down in to the ground. The Earth takes care of it from there acting as a filter and cleaning the affluent that ends up back in our water supplies. It’s actually a pretty cool process!

The Proper Way to Inspect Your Septic System

We partner with some great local septic companies to provide a septic inspection to our clients. We will ONLY associate with septic companies that pump out the tank when the septic inspection is taking place. This is, of course, more expensive, but it’s the correct way to do it. Imagine taking your car in to the shop for an inspection and the service tech never opens the hood. That’s essentially what you’re doing when you choose to inspect a septic system without having the tank pumped. Newer septic tanks are often plastic, but most septic tanks are concrete. Concrete can crack and tree roots can infiltrate the tank and wreak havoc on your system. Components of the septic tank, like the baffle, have the tendency to break off. Just replacing a septic tank is going to run you about $3,000, so don’t be concerned with the couple of hundred extra dollars you need to invest to make sure you don’t have any issues inside of the tank.

To summarize, do not waste your money on a septic inspection if you’re not going to pay to have the tank pumped at the same time.


  1. Ask your realtor to negotiate the cost of pumping the tank with the seller. It’s technically their crap anyway. They may agree to reimburse you partially at closing. It can’t hurt to ask!
  2. Call Freedom Home Services for your home inspections. We will arrange for the septic pump/inspect for you with qualified local contractors.
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