Septic System Inspections in San Antonio, TX and Surrounding Areas

What is a septic system?

A septic system is an underground wastewater treatment system that is commonly used in rural areas and other locations where a centralized sewer system is not available. The system is typically comprised of a septic tank and a drainfield, as well as various pipes and fittings that connect the components together.

The septic tank is a large, watertight container that is buried underground and receives all the wastewater that flows out of the home’s plumbing fixtures, such as toilets, sinks, and showers. The tank is designed to allow the solids to settle to the bottom and the oils and grease to float to the top, while the liquid wastewater flows out of the tank into the drainfield.

The drainfield is a network of perforated pipes buried in trenches that allow the wastewater to slowly percolate through the soil, where it is further treated and purified by the natural bacteria and organisms in the soil.

Septic systems require regular maintenance, including periodic pumping of the septic tank and careful management of the household water usage to avoid overloading the system. Improper use or neglect of a septic system can result in backups, odors, and contamination of the surrounding environment.


What is the difference between an Aerobic and Anaerobic septic system?

The primary difference between aerobic and anaerobic septic systems is the way in which the wastewater is treated.

Anaerobic septic systems are the most common type of septic system and rely on bacteria that thrive in an oxygen-free (anaerobic) environment to break down and treat the wastewater. The septic tank provides an environment where the wastewater can settle and the solids can be broken down by the bacteria. The partially treated wastewater then flows out into the drainfield, where it is further treated by the soil.

Aerobic septic systems, on the other hand, use oxygen to promote the growth of aerobic bacteria that more efficiently break down and treat the wastewater. These systems typically use a separate tank or chamber, called an aeration tank, to introduce air into the wastewater, which promotes the growth of the aerobic bacteria. The effluent is then discharged to the drainfield for further treatment by the soil.

In general, aerobic septic systems are more efficient at treating wastewater and producing a higher quality effluent than anaerobic systems. However, they are also more complex and require more maintenance and energy to operate, including periodic cleaning of the aeration tank and regular maintenance of the aerator equipment. Additionally, aerobic systems may not be suitable for all types of soils or site conditions.


How do you tell the difference between an Aerobic and Anaerobic septic system?

To determine whether a septic system is aerobic or anaerobic, there are a few things to look for:

  1. Inspection Ports: An aerobic septic system will typically have an inspection port or access hatch located near the aeration tank or chamber. This allows for easy access to the tank for routine maintenance and inspection. Anaerobic septic systems, on the other hand, usually have a single septic tank with only one access port.

  2. Electrical Equipment: Aerobic septic systems require electricity to power the aeration equipment, which may be visible above ground or located in a separate electrical control box. Anaerobic septic systems, in contrast, do not require any electrical equipment.


At Ensure Home Inspections, we only inspect AEROBIC Septic Systems

This is important. Anaerobic systems have a 30-year estimated lifespan, and over 50% of these systems that are currently installed in the US are older than that. The primary reason we only inspect Aerobic systems is that most anaerobic septic systems are in failure. We want to avoid the feel-bad effect that occurs when you pay us several hundred dollars to tell you that the equipment has serious problems and that you need to hire someone else to look at it. In addition to this, finding the septic access port for anaerobic systems can be a pain in the rear; sometimes we just can’t find them.

What we recomend doing if you are purchasing a home you know has an anaerobic septic system is schedule to get it pumped, then get it inspected by a dedicated septic servicing company. You’re going to need cost estimates for any repairs that are needed and you might as well get a qoute on a potential replacement of the system depending on the circumstances. We are happy to provide some references to septic companies that service San Antonio and the South Texas areas.


16400 Henderson Pass, STE 517
San Antonio, TX 78232

Hours of Operation

Mon - Sat 8:00AM - 8:00PM
Sun 10:00AM - 4:00PM

Professional Home Inspector Kyle D. Scott

TREC # 23813 - TDA # 819063

Ensure Home Inspection San Antonio TX provides thorough inspections, detailed reports, and personalized consultations at affordable prices in San Antonio & surrounding areas. Home Inspector San Antonio providing WDI/Termite Inspections, Thermal Imaging, Pool / Spa Inspections, Foundation Elevation Survey and more!

Pest Inspection Network, Inc.  TPCL#783068             P.O. Box 700906, San Antonio, TX  78270

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