Buying a home is a major financial decision. You’ve probably spent months — even years — preparing for this moment. The time has officially come. All the appliances are in place, the walls are painted, and all you need to do is sign on the dotted line. Not so fast. Did you have the septic system inspected?

Although it is almost as important to the home as the foundation itself, all too often people purchase homes without having a thorough septic inspection. Not to be confused with a septic pumping, an inspection involves a certified plumbing specialist taking a detailed look at all pipes, fixtures, inlets, and outlets to ensure functionality. Here are three reasons to get a septic system inspection before buying a house.

Avoid Expensive Repairs

Your septic system will be under non-stop pressure from the day your family moves into your new home. Whenever you flush the toilet, wash a load of laundry, or even a sinkful of dishes, you are slowly filling your septic tank. Imagine that one day you get a whiff of a foul odor filling the home.

When you discover the source of this odor you find out a design flaw has caused solid waste to gather at the outlet of the septic tank, effectively reversing the septic system. You must now find a septic professional who can unclog and replace your pipes, a problem that someone could have identified and fixed earlier had there been a proper septic system inspection.

Prevent Contamination

Not only are costly repairs a possible issue, but your family’s health can also be at stake if you forego a septic system inspection. An improperly functioning septic tank can release untreated wastewater back into the groundwater and contaminate your freshwater source. Not only can the water you drink become infected, but your bath and laundry water as well.

Ensure it’s Best for Your Family

Septic system inspections are ideal for spotting structural flaws and potential hazards but are also a perfect time to determine if the current tank is best for your family. Septic tanks come in various sizes and are made up of numerous materials. If you have a family of five or six, you’ll easily use more water than a family of three or four.

Upon inspection, you may realize that the current septic tank is too small and will require more frequent pumpings than necessary. You have the opportunity to be proactive and replace the septic tank before its size becomes a problem.