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Septic tank...issues?

Anyone have experience with having a septic tank instead of being hooked up to public sewer? We are currently in Attorney review for a new home and the home has Septic.

Re: Septic tank...issues?

  • Google might be your best friend on this one. A home I was in as a child had one and I remember mom having to buy a certain brand of tp and it being kinda touchy. my grandparents have one (new) and they are always having issues
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  • Our Michigan house has a septic and when I lived there full time, I had to have it pumped once every year or two.  Not really a big deal.  If it rained excessively or we went through a huge melt down of snow, sometimes flushing the toilet would seem slow, but it was usually corrected as the water drained from the yard.  We only use the house in the summer now, so no problems at all.
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  • Several of our rental houses and our current summer home have septics. 

  • My mothers house has a septic tank. Her biggest problem is that for some reason it kills the grass right above it.
  • There are 2 different types of septic systems that we have come across. Type 1 is a holding tank for solids and a septic field for liquids. Type 2 is a holding tank for everything. In Type 1 systems, you may see slower drainage when the ground is thoroughly soaked, as the liquids need to percolate through the ground and the ground is already sopping wet. This may also be what caused a PP to notice the grass issue. In type 2 systems, everything is held in the tank system, so there isn't really an issue with ground conditions. From what we have learned during our research, it's best to have the tank cleaned annually. In the house that we are under contract on, the septic system has an electronic monitoring system that will alert us if the system needs serviced on an other than routine basis. We have a septic inspection clause written into our contract. We'll have the company clean out the tank, clear away the ground cover over top of it, and fully inspect the holding tank and lines.  

  • We have a septic and don't really do much differently.  I do not flush tampons or paper towels and am careful not to put grease down the kitchen sink (which I don't do for a sewer either).  We do not buy any special TP brands.   We do need to have someone come pump and inspect it.  We can "see" where it's buried in the year because the grass is outlined differently and there is a mound where it was dug.  Other than that, we don't pay sewer with our water bill so that saves us about $20/month.
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  • I was hesitant to buy my current home b/c it has septic, but glad I did.  I have had no problems and my water bill is low.

    I don't do anything different.  I flush tampons on occasion, and had a disposal installed in the kitchen sink.  There is an alarm on mine, as well. The servie tech told me not to use RID X or brewer's yeast---sometimes you will see that recommended to flush down a toilet once a month.  He said not to bother.

    I have been in this house since 2003 and had it pumped when I moved in, and once since. There's only two of us living here, and we have a 1500 gal tank.

  • We have one, we just moved last week. They came and pumped it on Monday and they said some of the pipes were exposed and we needed to fill in the tressels because when rain water goes into it- it makes it work harder for some reason. Other than that, you should be careful with what you flush down the toilet/sink.

    I read that if you have a disposal, you should have it pumped at least every 2-3 years. If you don't, 5 years can work. It costs us $110 to have it pumped.

    Most houses around our area have septic tanks and it's the norm around here so I wouldn't be afraid of getting a house with one if I were you. Be sure to at least have it inspected.


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  • when we were house hunting one of my requirements was that we have  city water/sewer. I just didnt want to deal with a septic. 
  • We just moved and our new house has a septic.

    During inspection it was pointed out that the septic (it was 40+ years old) was not draining properly.   They had a specialist come out and it was determined the whole septic tank needed to be replaced (which costs around 12k)

    The owner paid to fix it NP, and it works fine.  We will pump it every 2 years.

    So happy they found the problem during the inspection instead of it going 6 months from now.  If you like a house with a septic, make sure you get it inspected!!!


  • Septic systems are very common. Is there something about that house's system that you have a question about?

    Or are you just new to the concept of a septic system altogether?

    If it's the latter... if the house is a re-sale (someone has lived in it in the past) I would request that the current sellers have the tank pumped before closing and provide a receipt proving that it was done.

  • I grew up in a house with septic and my current house has septic. The only thing I do differently is I do not flush tampons, paper towels, flushable wipes, ect. I also do not run the dish washer/shower/washer at the same time. We were told this could cause a system over load. We have a lift system on ours, which the waste goes from the house to the septic, to the lift system to the tank. Rid x gets rid of all the solids, and the liqids dispurse (that is how my dad explained it to me). We had it pumped when we first bought the house to see if there was any issues with it, and pumped again when our pump went out, but other than that, we shouldnt have to have our pumped unless something fails. A plus to think about with septic is if it ever backs up into your house, atleast it isnt the entire neighborhoods poo and only your households!

  • Some good info out there. Some not so good.

    My family owns a septic company. I also own a house with a septic (newly built) system.

    There are standard septic systems and mound systems based on where you live. Mound systems are typically in place or built if you have good drainage soil.

    Septics on average with good maintenance - will last upwards of 35-40 years.

    In order to truly keep your septic in good condition - you should not, I repeat should not place anything in there other than TP. There ARE actually brands that can create more problems than others..Charmin being one. On occasion, certain things won't make or break a septic--but it will definitely contribute to more wear/tear than if you just don't.

    Septics help and hope (directly or indirectly) attempts to also help with water conservation. Some mentioned they don't run large watered things at the same time - not a bad idea; however, most systems (that run with wells) have an automatic sensor switch that will shut it down to prevent overflow. If you also have a water softener - it is best to try and have it directly away from the house unless that too, comes with sensor shut off when not needed.

    Systems (on average) for say, a standard set of 4 people with 2 bathrooms - every few years is fine for pumping as long as you maintain it.

    Antibacterial soaps are the absolute worst to use if you have a septic system. The antibacterial stuff kills good bacteria that help separate the yuckies from the bacterial 'good' yuckies in the tank. DONT use antibacterial. Bio-degrade products are best. This includes certain shampoos, soaps, dish washing liquid, etc. Attempt to use the enviro organic stuff.

    For the most part, to keep a septic healthy and long-lasting, honestly? Garbage disposals are not recommended. Many homes (especially rural homes-which is where you find septics) don't even COME with a disposal in place..for a very good reason. Can cause big problems later on. Carrot peels and coffee grounds are the WORST for a system.

    Google septics and read up on them. They are very pricey to fix or re-build (10k low ball to more than 20k). As long as you educate yourself, they're just fine.

    Also, you can pay a septic management company to come out and 'look' inside your septic to see if it is 'healthy' - you can have this done when it is being pumped.


  • Edited by moderator.

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