Pros and Cons of Buying a Home With a Septic System

Are you on the hunt for a new home and faced with the decision of purchasing a property with a private septic tank? Chances are you’ve been accustomed to the convenience of living somewhere that’s connected to a public sewer line, and the thought of switching to a septic system can be daunting. However, septic system ownership doesn’t have to be a bad experience as long as you know what to expect and how to take care of it.

In this article, we will dig into the pros and cons of owning a home with a septic system to help you make an informed decision before you start signing papers.


Maintenance - Owning a property with a septic tank means that repairs and maintenance are all on you. You will be responsible for paying a company to empty your septic tank once every three to five years, as well as regular pumping and inspection to check for damages and needed repairs. You could look at this as a downside of having a septic system, but really it’s just a reality of home ownership that has to be cared for in a different way. When you are under a municipal wastewater treatment plan, there’s a lot more maintenance required, and you pay for that maintenance via a monthly fee. With your own personal septic system, you’re simply taking on the responsibility of hiring a septic pumping company to do the work for you, and you then pay them for their labor directly instead of paying the city.

Space - Are you planning to buy a property with a septic system with the intention of  building a chicken coop or plant some trees on that nice patch of land? Not so fast - septic tanks and the required drainfield you’ll need can take up a lot of space, and manipulating the space around your system can rupture the pipes. This includes digging, parking cars, and building or placing other heavy items. These limitations can throw a wrench in your plans for your yard if it’s on the smaller side. Essentially, you’ll have to consider the space where your septic tank is planted and the drainfield to be partially unusable. 

Drain Limitations - If you’ve never owned a septic tank before, you’re probably used to flushing all kinds of things down the toilet and enjoying the convenience of a garbage disposal to discard small pieces of food. The problem is that septic tanks are designed specifically to treat household wastewater; they cannot and should not serve as a solid waste disposal system. You’ll have to be very mindful that you only flush and drain wastewater and toilet paper. Garbage disposal use would not be a problem with most sink drains, but a garbage disposal in a drain that connects to a septic system can cause the tank to fill too fast, which means more frequent pumping. You also likely don’t think twice about using whatever chemicals you want to clean and unclog your drains. While chemicals have their place, they can also kill valuable bacteria that your septic needs to break down and cleanse wastewater. 


Overall Lower Costs - Transitioning a property to a public sewer line can cost upwards of $30,000 when you consider everything from piping installation, permitting, and connection fees. Monthly sewer bills run anywhere from $35-$135. Once a septic tank is installed, maintaining the system is surprisingly affordable. Aside from unexpected repairs, you can expect to pay $300-$500 every 3-5 years, which averages out to be approximately $5-$15 per month. When kept in good condition, a septic system can last 40 years or more. 

More Eco-Friendly - A properly maintained septic system that is working as it should uses very little public resources. Public sewer lines have to pump wastewater to centralized wastewater treatment facilities, which requires a significant amount of energy. They also sometimes clog and back up into household plumbing systems and even overflow into streets and yards, releasing pollutants and pathogens into the environment. By contrast, recycled water from your septic tank can replenish local groundwater supply simply through gravity and other natural biological processes. 

Location Freedom -  When you live in cities, towns, and suburbs, you’re restricted to building land within the territories that the city sewer lines service. If you’re willing to accept ownership of your wastewater instead of relying on a public sewer system, septic systems can be installed on any piece of land that has enough space and proper soil. This means you can live almost anywhere you can find land!

When it comes to septic tank ownership, having a service team that has your back is half the battle. Tim Frank Septic offers a broad range of services to fit the needs of homeowners and skilled technicians whose goal it is to keep your system serving you with as few problems as possible for years to come. Reach out to us with all your questions today!