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Old 11-02-2007, 09:28 PM
 
Location: NW Austin
1,133 posts, read 3,858,928 times
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We've been shopping houses online in Shady Hollow. The older ones built in the 70s (with really nice lots with nice trees) have septic systems. Is this an issue? I can just envision overflowing toilets... or having my yard dug up to fix some kind of problem. Should we stick to the newer homes with city sewer?

Also, curious to know why the older homes haven't upgraded to city sewer? Can anyone enlighten me?
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
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If you want to hook up to city sewer, you have to pay a hookup fee, and then pay monthly bills for sewage. If you have a septic, you have already spent the major money in its construction and now it is very close to free. A well designed septic is almost maintenance free - a pumping every 5 years or so, even less frequent if all the kids have flown the coop. You should get an inspection done on the system if the house you are looking at has septic, but I would not let it stop me personally. There is the potential issue of a flooded septic, but it is not really as common as you might think.
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:32 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,068 posts, read 76,777,953 times
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I'm on a septic system. Never had it before but you get used to it. I live east in the clay soils and have kids so I get it pumped every 2 years and the pumper guy gives it a going over since it's opened. I'm on a gravity system so there's no electrical parts to worry about. I have 2 leach fields and switch them every other month.

One good thing about a septic IMO is that you learn to conserve water which in turn keeps your water bills low.
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Old 11-02-2007, 10:44 PM
 
Location: WA
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Be sure to get a qualified independent inspection of the system before deciding anything. A good percentage of systems where I live (not in Texas) will not pass current code and are now required to pass an annual inspection. Hooking up to a sewer system can be very expensive and the monthly charge higher than most expect.

I wound up passing on some beautiful country properties because of septic and well water issues.
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Old 11-03-2007, 07:12 AM
 
Location: SW Austin & Wimberley
6,212 posts, read 16,171,376 times
Reputation: 5294
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlanta hope View Post
We've been shopping houses online in Shady Hollow. The older ones built in the 70s (with really nice lots with nice trees) have septic systems. Is this an issue? I can just envision overflowing toilets... or having my yard dug up to fix some kind of problem. Should we stick to the newer homes with city sewer?

Also, curious to know why the older homes haven't upgraded to city sewer? Can anyone enlighten me?
It's not something that you'll notice or that will affect you much living in the home. But you do need to have it inspected and understand that it can be costly to replace if it fails. But I would not rule out a house you love just because it has a septic.

Steve
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Old 11-03-2007, 09:41 AM
 
Location: Austin, Tx
11 posts, read 35,064 times
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I live in the Estates of Shady Hollow. I dont have a septic because my home is one of the newer ( 1994 or later ) homes. I have several friends in the neighborhood that have a septic. For them it is a non- issue. There are a lot of homes in this part of the neighborhood with septics. I think the reason that people have not "upgraded " to the sewer is that it costs money to do that. And "if it is not broke -- why fix it". I had a client look into this in another area -- and at that time a plumber told us that it would cost about $5000.00 -- you have to get a permit and it is a job.

The only thing I would say -- is look out for the location of the septic. I do have one neighbor who has thier septic in the middle of the back yard. Then they had to put thier pool in a location that was not quite as ideal in my mind.

Dena
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Old 11-03-2007, 04:17 PM
 
Location: NW Austin
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So if we had sewer problems with an old tank, we could upgrade to city sewer at that point for $5-10K?
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Old 11-04-2007, 02:08 PM
 
2,237 posts, read 8,310,049 times
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A septic system will only back up if the line is clogged...the same as if you were on city sewage. Usually it's from not pumping out the tank every 3-5 years. As long as you pump regularly and don't try to flush diapers down the toilet, you'll never have any issues.
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Old 11-04-2007, 11:36 PM
 
Location: Texas
118 posts, read 528,156 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlanta hope View Post
So if we had sewer problems with an old tank, we could upgrade to city sewer at that point for $5-10K?
We paid $13,000+ for a new sewer line in GT to replace the failing septic of the house we bought. Granted, we had a pretty long run to get to the city pipe, and they had to cut thru a substantial amount of limestone to run the line. Actually, the guy said he would have charged me more like $16k if he'd known how MUCH rock he had to get through. I think the city hookup fee was about $1500 alone, not including the permit.

I was told by the septic guy that it would be at least $8-10k to get a new septic system. Even more than that if we needed a ?pump? or some other thing that requires electricity and extra maintenance. No thanks!

Be sure that you actually have access to the city sewer line from the property you're looking at. Most of the homes in our area are on septic, because the city sewer line is new (and the houses are on acreage). The houses on the opposite side of our street are out of luck, though, because there currently is no city sewer line there. (From what I was told by the GT city guy.)

HTH, good luck!
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Old 11-05-2007, 12:27 PM
 
Location: SW Austin
314 posts, read 1,134,806 times
Reputation: 93
Default Septic

I too live in Shady Hollow, we do not have a septic but I deal with it a great deal as a realtor. Do not let it sway you one way or the other. If anything the septic is nice because you do not have to pay sewage on your water bill. You do need to get it pumped every 5 years, but the cost is minimal ($150 or so). When you buy a home with a septic get it inspected. Also negotiate to have the owner pump it before you move in if it has not been done recently.
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