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Old 05-21-2010, 09:20 PM
 
11 posts, read 27,838 times
Reputation: 11

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The CA to H-ville move is almost complete. Coming from natural gas and public sewers we're somewhat shocked to find homes for sale that are on septic and/or propane tanks.

Anybody care to share their knowledge on "engineered" septic tanks (not sure what the difference is), leech lines, maintenence, pumping, horror stories etc. Have always thought septic would be a deal breaker but don't want to completely rule out septic without getting feedback from actual owners in the area. Currently considering 35811 zip code, any info on that area would be appreciated also.

Have to rule out a propane tank in the back yard but would be interested in opinions on the natural gas communities.

Thanks for the input, 13 days and counting.
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Old 05-21-2010, 09:45 PM
 
Location: Raleigh
8,073 posts, read 6,214,324 times
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We are in North Carolina with both an inground propane tank and a self contained sewage treatment system.
A septic tank is just part of the system, the rest is a settlement tank, a pump, and a drain field. I have had others over the years. With proper design and maintenance they should last for years.
The inground 500 gallon propane tanks will work well for another 20 years at least. Since the propane company owns it they are responsible for maintenance.
Relax, you are in a good place.
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Old 05-22-2010, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Madison, AL
410 posts, read 1,513,611 times
Reputation: 128
Septic system basics: -Don't flush anything non-biodegradable down the tank -Don't plant anything over or near your septic lines except grass -Don't drive your car or allow heavy machinery over or near your septic tank and lines -If you see wet spots on the ground near your lines & tank, call for repairs FAST -Don't buy septic tank additive junk -Don't drink from a well downhill of a septic system For the most part, you don't even need to think about them and just ignore them. If properly designed and installed, they last about 40 years. You can get them pumped every few years, but in most cases that's a precautionary measure and not a strict requirement unless you have a very large household or people are flushing non-biodegradable things down the toilets. When house shopping, be sure to look out for stuff planted over the lines and wet spots on the ground. Before buying, check with the county health department for the permit. If in doubt, make a septic system inspection a contingency. "Engineered" septic systems can be a lot of different things. Usually an engineered system on site will tell you that the land has poor drainage and/or clay soils. But generally they work the same and need the same care.
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Old 05-22-2010, 07:13 AM
 
1,351 posts, read 3,026,530 times
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I cannor report on the pros because I have public sewer, but I since you also asked about horror stories, I remember a story last year in 35811. Was on TV. I had to search one of the TV stations' website:
Search - WAFF.com: North Alabama News, Radar, Weather, Sports and Jobs-

I vaguely remeber the details, but IIRC it was the builder's fault (improper design/installation), and the seepage continued for days in summertime , nothing was being done by whomever was to fix it, so the TV's "taking action" team did the story.
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Old 05-22-2010, 07:55 AM
 
Location: Madison, AL
3,300 posts, read 5,150,493 times
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I have had both septic and public sewer, and after having a septic tank, I will never own a house with another one again. That is just my personal preference.

With septic, you will have to adjust how you do things. For instance, I have always been accustomed to running my dishwasher and washing a load of laundry at the same time. With a septic, you run the risk of flooding your lines by putting too much water in the system at one time, so it is not good to do this. I also have "laundry day" generally one day a week where I tackle 5-6 loads in one day. I learned the hard way it is not good to do this either...I flooded my drain lines and had to call a septic service to come pump out my tank. Our neighbor had seepage coming through the ground, and it was very stinky, and they spent thousands trying to get her system squared away.
If your septic system goes bad, it is a very costly repair...and messy.
There were some issues with the septic systems in Berryhill and Riverwalk with Jeff Benton's homes, but he did go in a put in a new type of system in those homes having issues. They have a funny looking apparatus in the yard, and I truly don't understand how that system works. The fact that their were issues there was enough to take my clients to another neighborhood.
I personally would rather pay a bit extra for sewer charges every month and not have to deal with the headaches a septic system can bring, but that is my personal choice, from my personal experiences with them. Over a two year period, we spent close to $2500 on our septic system in issues, and we had a brand new house.

I also had so many conflicting suggestions about what to put down the potty every month...some say a box of Ridex (sp?), some say a tablespoon of yeast, some say neither because both can mess it up, some said don't use fabric softener because it will kill the bacteria in the tank that eats all the poop (yuck).....I would rather be able to put what I want down drains in softeners, cleaners, ect, and be done with it!

As far as gas, I love having some gas appliances. I have a gas hot water heater, and love love love it. We never run out of hot water. We are getting ready to put in a tankless, which works better off gas. I also am having a gas line run to my kitchen for a gas cooktop...oh happy day! I love cooking on gas, so I am very excited about that! We have electric, but I would not mind having gas heat (I would just want my downstairs unit gas, upstairs electric since the heat rises) because the gas heat is much warmer that electric. I also really like having the clean gas logs, but they don't heat near as well as a real wood burning fire (which I prefer).
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Old 05-22-2010, 12:54 PM
 
11 posts, read 27,838 times
Reputation: 11
Thank you all for your responses, especially for the link to the WAFF site. Pretty much confirms our reluctance to buy a house on septic. LCT, when you speak of running a gas line, is this from a propane tank or is there an option in communities with natural gas to have a line installed? We definately prefer gas for heat, cooking and hot water and are curious as to which communities already have natural gas piped in. Don't have a problem paying to run the piping as long as gas is available. Nix the 35811 zipcode, now we're back to looking at the Reserve in Madison. Any comments or suggestions on any other sewer/natural gas communities with newer houses in the $300-325k range?
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Old 05-22-2010, 01:47 PM
 
2,547 posts, read 6,557,792 times
Reputation: 2315
Quote:
Originally Posted by LCTMadison View Post
I have had both septic and public sewer, and after having a septic tank, I will never own a house with another one again. That is just my personal preference.

With septic, you will have to adjust how you do things. For instance, I have always been accustomed to running my dishwasher and washing a load of laundry at the same time. With a septic, you run the risk of flooding your lines by putting too much water in the system at one time, so it is not good to do this. I also have "laundry day" generally one day a week where I tackle 5-6 loads in one day. I learned the hard way it is not good to do this either...I flooded my drain lines and had to call a septic service to come pump out my tank. Our neighbor had seepage coming through the ground, and it was very stinky, and they spent thousands trying to get her system squared away.
If your septic system goes bad, it is a very costly repair...and messy.
There were some issues with the septic systems in Berryhill and Riverwalk with Jeff Benton's homes, but he did go in a put in a new type of system in those homes having issues. They have a funny looking apparatus in the yard, and I truly don't understand how that system works. The fact that their were issues there was enough to take my clients to another neighborhood.
I personally would rather pay a bit extra for sewer charges every month and not have to deal with the headaches a septic system can bring, but that is my personal choice, from my personal experiences with them. Over a two year period, we spent close to $2500 on our septic system in issues, and we had a brand new house.

I also had so many conflicting suggestions about what to put down the potty every month...some say a box of Ridex (sp?), some say a tablespoon of yeast, some say neither because both can mess it up, some said don't use fabric softener because it will kill the bacteria in the tank that eats all the poop (yuck).....I would rather be able to put what I want down drains in softeners, cleaners, ect, and be done with it!

As far as gas, I love having some gas appliances. I have a gas hot water heater, and love love love it. We never run out of hot water. We are getting ready to put in a tankless, which works better off gas. I also am having a gas line run to my kitchen for a gas cooktop...oh happy day! I love cooking on gas, so I am very excited about that! We have electric, but I would not mind having gas heat (I would just want my downstairs unit gas, upstairs electric since the heat rises) because the gas heat is much warmer that electric. I also really like having the clean gas logs, but they don't heat near as well as a real wood burning fire (which I prefer).
In well over 20 years with septic and never letting kitchen and laundry drain in septic,I will never have any problem,common sense should tell you that tank has to have time for bacteria to work.How can it if you flood it,no magic.
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Old 05-23-2010, 11:19 AM
 
Location: Madison, AL
3,300 posts, read 5,150,493 times
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How do you NOT allow your kitchen and laundry drain in septic? Where does it go if it does not drain into your septic system? In 99.9% of homes, the kitchen and laundry appliances drain into the septic system. That water has to have somewhere to go.

And, if you have never owned a septic, these are things you probably don't know. If you are accustomed to public sewer, there is a change on how you use your appliances that put water in the septic.

It has nothing to do with "common sense" or a lack thereof. It has to do with education on a different type of system, which is what the OP requested, and many other posters have provided. Many people who have never been on a septic system do not realize the maintenance and difference between septic and public sewer.
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Old 05-23-2010, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Alabama!
5,873 posts, read 16,175,154 times
Reputation: 4399
If there is a propane tank, there are probably no natural gas lines running throughout the neighborhood. That's why there are propane tanks.
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Old 05-23-2010, 06:54 PM
 
1,162 posts, read 2,439,272 times
Reputation: 468
Have had both over the years and we will NEVER have another septic tank. Willing to pay more for city sewer. We have tankless natural gas water heater and stove top and love them both. Don't think I ever want to deal with a propane tank either. Utilities here are relatively cheap.
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