How to Know If You Need a Septic Tank Inspection

Draining septic tank

Your septic system is one of the most important items in your home to keep well-maintained and up-to-date on inspections. There are many reasons your septic system might need to be inspected by a qualified professional, from freezing in winter to selling your home; however, you want to make sure that your septic system is inspected properly and that all septic services address what is covered in your inspection. 

Read on to learn about what is covered in a septic tank inspection and what to do after the fact!

What a Septic System Inspection Includes

While many homeowners may refer to a septic inspection as a ‘septic tank inspection’, this service should involve your entire septic system. A septic inspection checks the integrity and condition of your septic system. When getting your septic system inspected, you’ll want to ensure that the company checks the entire system and not just the tank, the tank is only one part of the system.

A septic system inspection should check:

  • The condition and size of the tank
  • A full assessment of the drain field area
  • Any landscaping or grading concerns that may influence system operation
  • Any concerns regarding the sizing of the system compared to the occupancy of the home
  • The condition of mechanical and plumbing equipment, alarms, etc., including testing and analysis of their performance

When Do You Need a Septic Inspection?

There are many reasons to book a septic system inspection. Regular inspections can prevent potential problems and ensure the septic system operates efficiently and safely. 

  • Prevention – Rather than getting an inspection once things start to feel or look wrong, you should be getting an annual inspection of your entire system. Testing of floats and alarms can help ensure you’re protected if and when things like pump failures happen in the future, preventing backups into the home, flooding, and damage to your home.
  • Insurance purposes – Some provinces require annual septic assessments by qualified technicians for insurance purposes. These inspections can alert homeowners to conditions that could lead to big problems while there is still time to resolve them. 
  • Problems in the soil – Septic drain fields typically have a lifespan of around 20-25 years, depending upon the soil, type of system, and its construction. Annual inspections can alert homeowners to problems in the soil while they can still be repaired or remediated, allowing systems to operate indefinitely instead of requiring costly replacement due to the system aging out. 
  • Cost savings – Many people aren’t aware that their drain fields can be repaired rather than an entire system replacement, so an annual inspection can save your family tens of thousands. SepTech Canada provides septic drainfield repair, which can include jetting and clearing out c]logged lines and often requires remediation of the soil, which is typically what leads to the lines getting clogged in the first place.
  • Before buying and selling rural property – Before you list your property, we can tell you what a septic inspection by the buyer is likely to determine. This allows you as the vendor/seller to address these issues before they cause an offer to fall apart or result in a costly holdback or a buyer demanding a potentially large price reduction. Having the septic system inspection conducted before listing allows you to price your property accordingly as well as add that the system is in perfect condition to your sales pitch.
  • When issues arise or persist – The final reason to get your septic system inspected is if you’re noticing something doesn’t seem right. If your system starts to freeze over the winter, and this is a new development, that is typically a sign that something is starting to go wrong. This could be a plumbing or mechanical issue, could indicate a problem developing in the soil, or any number of other factors that cause your septic system to freeze. Our inspector will assess the situation and can recommend remedies to prevent freeze-ups next winter.

When a Septic System Inspection is Required

Septic system inspection requirements can vary depending on the location and regulations of the specific area or country. In general, septic system inspections are necessary to ensure that these on-site wastewater treatment systems are functioning correctly and not posing a threat to public health or the environment. Many areas require a septic system inspection before a property is sold or transferred to a new owner. This ensures that the system is in good working condition before changing owners.

When you’re buying a rural property, we can assess the system’s condition, letting you know the info you need to budget for anticipated repairs and septic services or if things may need to be replaced before the problems become your own. Inspecting the septic system before you buy can help you make an informed decision about the property. If the system is beyond repair, you could be looking at $60k in replacement costs.

The Cost of a Septic System Inspection

Typically, septic system inspections vary depending on many different factors relating to the property. The cost depends on how much information about your system is needed and whether a detailed report is needed to satisfy bank requirements for financing of a rural property. If you get annual inspections from SepTech Canada, the information about your system, maintenance records, and historical data is saved, meaning we don’t need to take as much time in information collection for subsequent inspections. 

Some clients opt for our “walk and talk” inspection option – this allows you to tag along with our certified inspector and discuss items that are noted, hear any recommendations, and get an education as to how your system operates (or how it SHOULD operate). This option allows you to proactively take steps as the homeowner, getting the same results but without producing paperwork that may be unnecessary.

What to Expect With a Septic System Inspection

While the process may vary depending on the septic services provider you choose, here’s what you can expect with SepTech Canada:

Before the septic system inspection: 

  • Schedule an appointment with a certified septic system inspector.
  • Ensure easy access to the septic tank lids for inspection and pumping if required.
  • Collect information about the property’s water usage patterns, such as the number of occupants and average daily water usage.

During the septic system inspection, we will:

  • Arrive at the scheduled time and introduce ourselves.
  • Ask questions about the property’s water usage and any known issues with the septic system.
  • Visually inspect the area around the septic system for signs of issues like soggy ground or strong odours.
  • Uncover and open the septic tank lids to assess the tank’s condition and check the liquid level inside.
  • Examine the tank for signs of leaks, cracks, or other structural problems.
  • Inspect the distribution box (if applicable) to ensure proper wastewater distribution to the drainfield.
  • Evaluate the drain field for signs of effluent surfacing or ponding, which could indicate drainage problems.
  • Use specialized tools, if necessary, to identify leaks or blockages.
  • Provide feedback on the system’s condition, any issues found, and recommend the appropriate septic services. 

After the septic system inspection:

Many homeowners have additional questions that come up after mulling over the report. We offer phone support, advice, and recommendations after the inspection is completed, so you’ll never need to worry about being handed an inspection report and left to figure it out on your own. Once you become a client, we are there to support you and help you address any and all of your septic concerns.

Once you have a completed inspection, you’ll want to compare and contrast your system and its operation to both the current codes/standard of practice, as well as compare the current operation with the intended operation of the original system design. Our goal is to make sure things are working properly. As long as your system worked at some point, we can typically return it to that state of performance and function — in most cases without recommending system replacement.

Booking Your Septic Services With SepTech Canada

Although it would be great if all septic inspections showed the system was in perfect working order, this is often not the case. Some inspections will determine that there are some components that need to be repaired or replaced. You can book your septic services with SepTech Canada to ensure that everything covered in the inspection is addressed with a maintenance call. 

Our maintenance appointments involve:

  • The repair and maintenance of existing pumps
  • Alarms and their related floats
  • Mechanical repairs to the plumbing components in the septic tank and in the drain field
  • Replacement of delivery lines, if/when required

We have freeze prevention options that can be permanently installed to ensure that lines that froze this year will not freeze next year. What sets SepTech Canada apart is we have the unique ability to repair the soil from organic failure — the main cause of system failure for over 95% of septic systems. By remediating the soil in and around the drainfield, we can restore function to systems that are aged at or even beyond their normal service life, bringing them back to full, normal function and keeping them there for the long term. 

Contact us to book your septic system inspection, which is typically booked and performed within one week of the initial call. We have 24/7 emergency service and are prepared to answer any questions you may have about your septic system. Once you work with us, we will also send out maintenance reminders letting you know your system is due for annual service.

SepTech Canada offers the highest quality solutions to septic system issues for rural counties surrounding and including the Edmonton area. We don’t do “Band-Aid solutions” – everything we do, we stand behind 100%.