If you are buying a house it is in your best interests to have the septic inspection by a professional septic inspector, even if you also have hired a home inspector. Often times a home inspector will assess the condition of visible plumbing in the home, but will not perform a detailed evaluation of the septic system.
Most inspections involve a dye test whereby the inspector injects a fluorescent dye into the septic system. If the dye shows up on the surface of the ground above the leach field, the septic system is not performing properly.
Another test is an “open pit test.” This test involves emptying the tank and the dirt that covers the top of the tank and distribution lines. Mirrors or video cameras are then lowered into the tank so that it can be visually inspected for defects.
A septic system, although underground and is usually not thought about, is part of your home and should be inspected. If you are looking to buy a home, it is important to have a septic system inspection. It is a good idea to have the entire tank pumped out so the technician can check the condition of the tank – make sure there are no visible cracks or problems. The technician will have the owner run the water in the house and flush the toilet to verify the water is flowing into the septic tank.