Building a home on raw land can be a time-consuming and stressful experience. However, customizing your new home to your family's wishes and needs can often lead to far more satisfaction than purchasing someone else's "used" home that may just not be quite what you've envisioned.
If you've recently broken ground on your new home, you may be wondering what to do when it comes to your waste management and plumbing needs. Both septic tanks and sewer hookups are viable options in most parts of the country, but the costs and maintenance associated with each can differ dramatically. Read on to learn more about some of the advantages and disadvantages of each solution.
Advantages of Septic Systems
A septic system is essentially a cement-encased biosphere. As wastewater and "gray water" (sink, shower, and laundry runoff) enter your plumbing, they're routed to this buried tank. Enzymes and bacteria will break down solid waste into harmless and fairly odorless effluent, which filters out the sides of the tank into the surrounding soil.
A septic tank is located on your property and doesn't have any type of outflow pipe. Because of this, other than the occasional pumping (or the hopefully even-more-infrequent septic tank repair), you won't face any ongoing costs associated with your septic tank. In most parts of the country, this also means lower monthly water bills. By contrast, a sewer hookup will mean paying monthly water and sewer charges, which can often dwarf the amount you'll pay in septic-related bills over the years.
Advantages of Sewer Hookups
If you instead opt to hook your home's outflow plumbing to a publicly maintained sewer pipe, your water waste will truly be "out of sight, out of mind." Sewer hookups remove any maintenance obligations, and unless a sewer pipe on your property is damaged due to your own negligence (like digging it up while landscaping), any sewer-related issues will usually be taken care of by the city or county.
One distinct advantage of having your home's plumbing hooked to a sewer is the possibility of higher resale value. Homes with sewer hookups are generally seen as lower maintenance than those with septic systems. In some cities, original homeowners may not be required to hook up to the sewer, but subsequent purchasers are. This means that selling your house can be tough if any potential purchasers know that they'll be on the hook for a hefty sewer hookup fee as soon as they've signed the closing documents.
But for those planning their forever home, resale considerations may not take priority. If you'd like to lock in a lower water bill for the foreseeable future, septic installation may be the way to go.