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What is a Home Inspection?
Septic inspections  XML
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bspann
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Joined: 12/23/2014 09:12 AM EST
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Location: Central Indiana
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I am curious to see how many offer septic inspections. I see a lot of home inspectors charging $50 or so to add a septic inspection, but as I am taking a septic inspection course it seams like $50 is way under priced for all that is involved and the liability.

For those who offer this, what does a standard $50 septic inspection cover? When I am asked if I do septic inspections I tell them that I do not because an actual septic inspection would require locating the tank, taking liquid,scum,solid levels, measuring the inlet and outlet distances,pumping the tank to inspect the tank, locating the d-box and inspecting plus many other things. Am I correct in stating this?

What I do tell me clients is: that i do not offer full septic inspections(because of what was mentioned earlier) but, I do load test on the system where we calculated 150 gallons of water per bedroom and load the system. We then remove any available covers and walk the absorption field to check for any back up or objectionable odors. And then I write in the report that this was done but it does not mean the system was fully inspected, and that it is recommended having a full inspection done by a licensed tradesman with some additional disclaimers added.

I guess what I am curious to know is if you think I am wording this correctly and going about this the right way? Septic systems are a huge item so I just want to be sure that I am giving my clients the best idea of their system and what needs to done to check it and also protect myself in the process.

Thanks for any input

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 05/22/2015 09:35 AM EDT


Blake T. Spann CMI
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Mike Casey
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I stay away from anything underground and in particular anything to do with poop. The only proper method is to dig up the tank and a full inspection by a septic contractor and even that is limited. I realize the water load test is common, with the dye dump in the toilet prior the tank being pumped. Sometimes this test can expose blown-out fields, however, it is very limited, in particular if the home is vacant for a while as the tank might be low. The problem is many clients don't understand the load test limitations, even though we tell them, and opt not to have a septic certification by a pro which can lead to problems later on. I don't think its worth the 50-100 bucks for the exposure it brings.

Here's an interesting perspective: http://www.psma.net/dye_test_myth.cfm

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gfricke
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We sub them out to a specialty septic contractor. They charge $250 here to inspect them and from seeing their evaluations we want no part of them. Assuming you can find someone in real life to let you ride along and learn you could add them but I wouldn't let some course teach you what to do on them. The other issue is time/value of money. Between taking time to find the lid, dig it up, open it, do the inspection, etc it takes those guys sometimes an hour or so.

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bspann
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Thank you for the replies. I guess I am going to continue to do load tests (for no charge) but I need to make it more clear about the limitations of this and highly recommend a full inspection by a licensed septic contractor. I just get calls all the time and people ask if I do septic inspections and I tell them no, and they see that other inspectors in the area do them for $50-$75. It just made me wonder what they are actually "inspecting" to take on that kind of liability for that low of a price. Maybe they are just loading the system up as well.

Blake T. Spann CMI
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Pete Campbell
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You are wasting your time to do "load test" and instilling false sense of security to buyers.

And risking flooding the house b/c you cannot spend time rotating between the full running fixtures while inspecting the rest of the house.

Sub it and make nice mark up if you can or otherwise refer it out and stay at arm's length.

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Pete Campbell
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gfricke wrote:We sub them out to a specialty septic contractor. They charge $250 here to inspect them and from seeing their evaluations we want no part of them. Assuming you can find someone in real life to let you ride along and learn you could add them but I wouldn't let some course teach you what to do on them. The other issue is time/value of money. Between taking time to find the lid, dig it up, open it, do the inspection, etc it takes those guys sometimes an hour or so.


And they usually can locate the tank very quickly b/c they have experience. Oftentimes the lids are buried under 12 to 24" of soil. That's a lot of digging.

Pete Campbell
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Inspecting Fort Pierce, St. Lucie Village, Lakewood Park, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, Sebastian, Fellsmere, Fort Drum, Okeechobee, Jensen Beach, Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound and Indiantown, Florida.

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bspann
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Pete Campbell wrote:You are wasting your time to do "load test" and instilling false sense of security to buyers.

And risking flooding the house b/c you cannot spend time rotating between the full running fixtures while inspecting the rest of the house.

Sub it and make nice mark up if you can or otherwise refer it out and stay at arm's length.



That is exactly what I don't want, a false sense of security for my clients. Thanks for the advice

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jeff32@satx.rr.com
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Joined: 12/05/2014 10:07 AM EST
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I've been inspecting skeptics for 20 yrs, I charge 175 for flow test and 500-800 to pump and inspect based on size. I sub out the pumping obviously. Most inspectors do not have a clue and get in serious trouble over septics. When I say flow test there is much more to it than just running water, the die test is for so and is useless. If you can see the dye u can smell the effluents

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Nathan
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I'm sorry all to be the party "pooper", but the dye test is real and I only sold around $150,000+ worth of them in marketing home inspection services. They work, they're real, and they have a great ROI for the buyer.

It's the way to go unless your local regulations require something otherwise.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 05/23/2015 01:08 AM EDT


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bspann
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Nathan wrote:I'm sorry all to be the party "pooper", but the dye test is real and I only sold around $150,000+ worth of them in marketing home inspection services. They work, they're real, and they have a great ROI for the buyer.

It's the way to go unless your local regulations require something otherwise.


What is the ROI for the buyer?

Blake T. Spann CMI
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Nathan
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I don't understand your question. ROI means "Return on investment".

Are you asking what the return is?

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bspann
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Yes, what is the return on investment for the buyer?

Blake T. Spann CMI
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Nathan
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bspann wrote:Yes, what is the return on investment for the buyer?



I'm not sure it can be precisely quantified, but it can be proven better than a more invasive test. I understand that in some areas the more invasive is required, so let's use Indiana as an example.

Buyer A pays $75 for a dye test.

Buyer B pays $300 for the more invasive test.


Most of the time, the system will be fine. A minority of the time, the invasive test will find an issue, including relatively minor issues the dye test won't pick up. An even smaller percentage of the time the dye test will pick up the very major issue of course.

Based on what I've seen, statistically Buyer B is getting a bad deal. If the system is fine, then they wasted $225. That happens a lot of times to find the gap problems.

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bspann
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Ok that makes sense. Is there any type of standards in place to achieve the most accurate results possible? For example do you have to wait a certain amount of time for the dye to go through the system? Dig up holes in the absorption field?

Blake T. Spann CMI
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Nathan
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bspann wrote:Ok that makes sense. Is there any type of standards in place to achieve the most accurate results possible? For example do you have to wait a certain amount of time for the dye to go through the system? Dig up holes in the absorption field?


We never dug holes. I think we ran the dye through the system for 45 minutes. Sometimes it would come up in the yard, once or twice it gave the local river some color.

I'm sure someone here can define the process and be mindful that there is licensing for septic inspections in some areas.

We also identified system type, location of tank and field, proximity to well if applicable, and anything else we could visibly inspect.

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