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We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

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How to Look

at a House

A blog with answers
to your questions about

  1. Bullet Contact your local building department or health department. There is usually a record of the permits necessary to either install a septic system or connect to a sewer system. A site plan or diagram if often in the file, locating the tank and drainfield of a septic system in relation to the house.

  2. Bullet If you know the house has a septic system but have no information on its location, we suggest calling a septic tank contractor for an inspection. They will locate the tank and drainfield, pump out the tank, examine the empty tank for defects, and provide you with a brief report on their findings. This service costs between $300 and $400 in our area. To locate the septic tank yourself, see our blog post “How can I locate my septic tank?”

While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
© McGarry and Madsen Inspection


More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. Does the septic tank have to be re-certified if the house has been vacant for a while?

  2. Do I have to get a larger septic tank when I build a home addition?

  3. How do you find a broken water pipe leak under the floor slab?

  4. Do you check the plumbing under the floor slab?

  5. Should I call a plumber or septic tank contractor when my septic tank backs up into the house?

  6. What is well pump “short cycling”?

  7. How much does it cost to replace the plumbing pipe in a house?

  8. This home has galvanized water pipe. Is that a problem?

  9. What’s the flip-up handle on the water heater for?

  10. How come the water has a rotten-egg smell in some empty houses?

  11. My well water test came back positive for bacteria. What should I do?

  12. How old is that water heater?

  13. Do you test the well water?

  14. What is the difference between a regular water heater and a power vent water heater?

  15. How can I tell what type of plumbing pipe I have?

  16. How do you test a shower pan for leaks?

  17. What is a grinder pump?

  18. Why are rubber washing machine hoses a safety risk?

  19. What is a dielectric union?

  20. What is a heat pump water heater?

  21. What is an auto vent, air admittance valve, or check vent?

  22. Why is a European-style bottle trap not approved by the plumbing codes in the U.S.?

  23. What is the average life expectancy of CPVC pipe?

  24. What is an escutcheon plate?

  25. Why is a backflow preventer required on lawn sprinkler systems?

  26. What do the ABS, PVC, CPVC, PB, and PEX plumbing pipe names mean?

  27. Why is there water in my water heater drain pan?

  28. What is a sediment trap or dirt leg?

  29. My spa tub stopped working. What’s wrong?

  30. Which plumbing fixtures require water shut off valves in a home?

  31. What is the minimum and maximum slope of the trap arm of a plumbing drain?

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