Happyjerseyf…, Home Buyer in New Jersey

How long does a septic system last? And what is an approximate replacement cost in Hunterdon County, NJ?

Asked by Happyjerseyfam, New Jersey Fri Apr 6, 2012

Looking at a house built in the mid-70s. Seems to be well maintained, but the septic system is original. I think that means that we'd need to replace it soon. Am I right? And if so, what kind of expense are we looking at? (I'm thinking the same for the furnace and central air, too, right?) Thanks!

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I would also add a gardening nuance to this serious question and that is about Hunterdon County and what attracts people here. Although Hunterdon County officials have attempted to regulate the septic systems they overlook that buying a property 1-3+ acres offers prime gardening or small subsistence farm has meant that septic drain fields most likely drain affluent on acreage. This effectively makes gardening anywhere in the drain field could result in food contamination. To avoid this potential, during the inspection period hire a firm to not only inspect the mechanics of the system but the soil in the drain field as when it rains frequently bacteria rises to the surface. I noticed on one property deer totally avoided walking on a drain field "lawn". Heavy rain effectively expands the drain off and on some properties encompasses most of the gardening potential of a property. Need I say that if deer will not cross such a property or eat its grass children may not want to play there either. http://homeguides.sfgate.com/far-can-plant-vegetable-garden-…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sun May 24, 2015
I live in Hunterdon County and I am in the process of replacing my septic system which is original to our 1974 home. I had it tested prior to listing our home, and, as expected, it failed. They last around 30 years, depending on the type of system. Hunterdon County has extremely stringent codes that must be adhered to when installing a new septic system and there is a long approval process for the designs (trust me - I know). As far as the cost goes, the actual excavation/installation cost me $32,000. Add to that the engineer, surveyor, soil log tester and various permits that must be obtained and I am topping out at $37,500. The good news: the new owners will have a brand new septic system. Part of the excavator's contract includes the requirement that the land affected by the work is properly graded, seeded, and fertilized. My backyard will actualy look better when they are done (in about 2 weeks) than it does now! The bad news: I will miss my home when I leave (downsizing) and I won't get to "enjoy" the new septic system! Good luck finding the home of your dreams in beautiful Hunterdon County! --Susan Kubo, 4 Gleneagles Drive. Lebanon, NJ
To view home,cut and paste into browser: http://www.trulia.com/property/3076713848-4-Gleneagles-Dr-Le…
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Apr 25, 2012
You have spent a fortune on your septic! Do you want to sell your home by owner? Now when the inventory is really low you can easily avoid paying 5-6% commission! It will cover at least half of your septic replacement costs. I would be happy to give you more information on how to list your home on MLS and realtor.com and not to pay listing commission.
Flag Thu Apr 24, 2014
New septic at your place, eeh? We might have to take a look! ;-)
Flag Thu Jul 5, 2012
As a specialist in antique properties, I've been involved in the replacement of a number of septic systems, on behalf of buyers and sellers. And for my own personally owned properties, as well.
There are not set answers to your question. First you need a good inspector, and he/she can give you a detailed account of what KIND of septic system it is and what condition it is in. There are different engineering designs for different types of land and other factors. The required size of a septic influences price, and is based unpon the number of bedrooms, not bathrooms, that it serves. The bigger the system, the more expensive for the engineer's plan and the construction costs.

I wouldn't get into this without the assistance of an experienced Realtor. There are lots of details and nuances, but that's not to say that the price negotiated couldn't work out for you. It's all part of negotiations during the inspection period.
Once again, the cost of central air depends on the square footage you are cooling, and the equipment you choose.
I advise all my clients involved in these things to get at least 3 estimates from reputable companies, although with the septic, health officials will definately be visiting during the construction to make sure the engineer's plan is followed properly. This is extremely important because septic systems can affect underground acquifers, wells, etc., and other properties, so they must meet strict regulations.

Having said that, if I found a house I loved and it needed a new system, that in itself would not necessarily keep from buying the property. Just keep negotiating with that factor in mind.
This is all rather more involved that I'm explaining. You need someone experienced to guide you. I'll be happy to assist or provide more insight.
Please feel free to contact me:
Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors
I am licensed in NJ and PA and live in Delaware Township, NJ.
Regards, Lynell
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 6, 2012
My septic system is 30 years old. (1984) I had it pumped for the first and only time 3 years ago. The Health Department Inspector also tested the drain field and said it was ok also.
Don't put advertised chemicals in the tank. It does not need them. Just don't put all your food scraps, etc down the drain. And don't put sanitary napkins down either.
The system is designed to work on its own without added inducement.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Apr 7, 2014
Thanks for this answer. I didn't know that a septic system could last that long. It's good to know that I won't have to worry about it as much as I thought I would. I will still make sure I get it pumped frequently enough. http://www.canessco.org/services.html
Flag Fri Dec 12, 2014
If well cared for, they should last some 30 years.
To replace it can cost you $30K
Standards for septic systems have become more strict over the years.
The size and location of your old system may not work in today's world.
If you are a Buyer,make sure you have good advice from a testing firm.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 6, 2012
life depends upon maintenance, use and how well system was put in originally. Often life ex[ectancy is about 30 years. There are also peat systems where life is less and the bed must be replaced more often. older systems of 40 years plus likely will need replacement or upgrades/expansions. New systems are often raised beds. my system in Hopewell twp with similar soild to HUnterdon areas cost under 50K for a 6 bed system. conventional systems can be significantly less but depend upon water table and soils.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Apr 6, 2012
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