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So You’ve Inherited A Septic Tank – A Guide For New Owners

So You’ve Inherited a Septic Tank – A Guide for New Owners

Home ownership is a constantly changing, but ultimately rewarding endeavor. As homeowners, we become the lords and ladies of the manor, though we are primarily its caretakers. Keeping on top of our home’s workings not only makes daily life more ideal–it’s also a nearly surefire way to secure your investment.

If you’ve recently made the move from a home with sewer access to a home with a septic system, you’re probably wondering what the differences to your annual life will be. 

What do you need to know? How can you help? How long will the current septic system last? And finally, how much will it cost to maintain over the life of the house?

If you’ve recently inherited a septic system, you’re in the right place. Let’s start at the beginning with a basic explanation of how your septic system works.

How it works

A septic system is a remarkably simple, yet ingenious way of storing, treating, and dispersing organic waste. Whatever you flush, wash, or pour down the toilets or drains of your home will inevitably end up in your septic system.

Once in the septic tank, organic waste is further broken down by helpful bacteria. Waste separates into floatable matter (liquid waste known as “effluent”) and solid matter (sludge gathered at the tank’s bottom).

The effluent, or liquid waste, is then slowly released into a drainfield where it’s naturally filtered through the soil over time before being reintroduced as treated groundwater. 

Septic tanks are typically buried, and if you’ve inherited a system along with your new home, the hardest work has already been done.

How you can help

Septic systems may be clever, but they are not perfect. 

First and most importantly, you’ll want to watch what you flush or pour down toilets and drains. A brief list of no-flush items includes wipes and paper towels (even if advertised as “flushable”), feminine hygiene products, contraceptives, diapers, kitty litter, pharmaceuticals, and certain common household chemicals.

Absorbent, solid products can inflate once introduced to the water in our pipes and cause blockages. Furthermore, these products may not dissolve swiftly or at all. And certain chemicals can kill the helpful bacteria in your septic tank, reducing the efficiency and ability of your system as a whole. 

Next, you’ll need to think about regular maintenance. Septic systems are remarkably durable and generally manage 3-5 years of exceptional service without requiring any attention at all. Even so, they will need inspections roughly every 3 years and pumping anywhere from 3-5 years to ensure the best performance. 

Engaging a trusted, local septic maintenance company can solve most of your needs. Like a beloved family doctor, your septic maintenance company will keep track of scheduled needs for you.

How long will it last?

The lifespan of a septic system isn’t a matter of round numbers or general years of service. 

By understanding your septic system and refraining from flushing or draining harmful chemicals and objects, you can extend your system’s life by a decade or more. If properly maintained, some systems may even outlast your residency in the house itself.

Ultimately, it’s on you as the owner to apply best practices and ensure regular maintenance. Take care of your septic system and it’ll take care of you and your family for years to come.

How much will it cost?

In many cases, you’ll likely find that septic system ownership is cheaper than living with a municipal sewer system. 

For starters, you’ve probably already paid for the septic system itself as it is usually included in the cost of the house. Conversely, sewer systems require monthly payments to the local authorities. Sewage payments can change on a whim and everyone will have to split the burden of paying for any new sewage projects or improvements.

With a septic system, you’ll only pay for inspections once every 3 years and pumping once every 3-5 years. 

It’s unlikely that you’ll have to replace your septic system (especially if you’re taking care of it). Even then, a new septic system for a 3-bedroom house costs an average of $4,000.

Trust in Septic

Welcome to septic system ownership! With proper maintenance, sound daily practices, and an attitude of securing your home’s value, your septic system will likely outlast your stay in your new home!


To learn more about our septic system basics or to schedule your first inspection, call Economy Septic today!

Unlike sewer, life with a septic system is one of ultimate independence. You and your trusted septic maintenance company will work together to protect both the happy operation of your household and the money you’ve put into it. For more information, or to schedule an inspection with Economy Septic today, call us at (256) 435-1086!