If you live outside of a city, such as on a farm, acreage or in a rural subdivision, you are more likely to have your own water and sewer systems than to be hooked up to a municipal system. This is because the infrastructure is expensive. A city is unlikely to pay to extend systems to homeowners outside of it, and it is often to expensive for the homeowner to pay the costs. In that case you are likely to have your own well and septic tank. About 20% of the U.S. population operates with a septic system rather than on a municipal sewer system. There are both advantages and disadvantages to having a septic system and well.
While wells and septic tanks can initially cost more to install to the homeowner, over time they may be less expensive. You don’t have monthly bills for service, and you also have a less elaborate piping system that is not as likely to break down.
Another benefit of septic tanks is that you only have to worry about yourself. When you are on a community sewer system, you are at the whim of other users. If someone decides to pour grease down their toilet or flush a bunch of diapers, you could be the one to pay the price. When you have a septic system, however, you can control what goes into it and how well it is treated is solely up to you.
One of the drawbacks of septic tanks is that they require a lot more maintenance than a regular sewer system. You have to be very careful about what you flush, and it’s also a good idea to have your system inspected and pumped every three to five years. Camera inspections of septic tanks can be expensive, but they are necessary. Septic tanks can last 25 years or more if they are well taken care of. That’s important, because replacing a septic tank can be very expensive. Even spot repairs can cost thousands of dollars.
Rural living is appealing to many people and can have some advantages, but if you are going to live on an acreage or other rural property, you should be aware of what owning a septic system is like and what kind of financial and other commitments it involves.
Caring for Your Septic Tank Is Important
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