If you are buying a home in-town or within a dense subdivision, the water on your property will most likely come from a tap into the existing water and sewer systems. These are either managed by the water municipality or the HOA in your area. However, if your dream is to be in a quiet, remote location in the forest away from people and other houses, then you will most likely be buying or building a mountain home with septic system and private water well. It is very common for multi-million-dollar luxury homes in outlying mountain areas to have both a private water well and an individual septic system.
Mountain Home with Water Well
If you are looking at a lot in a remote subdivision, it is very important to know if the parcel has a well, or whether the adjacent parcels have “good” wells (plenty of water flow, and quality water free of heavy metals). You should request a well report, which gives the details on the depth of the well, the flow rate of the well, and the quality of the water. It may be wise to contact the company that put the well in place to come inspect the well and have a water test done. Many homes that have a well will have a very large holding tank or cistern, and the float in the tank will “request” more water from the well pump at the bottom of the well when needed and keep stored water available for spikes in usage that may exceed the flow directly from the well.
Mountain Home with Septic System
The stand-alone septic system treats the wastewater of the home. When you take a shower, flush the toilet or put anything down the kitchen sink, it will go into the septic system. With proper maintenance, a septic system can work efficiently and should last twenty-five to thirty years. When it does come time to replace the system, the cost is anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. Home inspections don’t include a septic system inspection, so you should contact a septic system company to provide a separate inspection report. In a mountain home with septic system, it is common for the system to be pumped every two years, but for a second home that gets less use, this interval may be longer. Typically, a private septic system will be no different than what you are used to in the city, with a few exceptions.
How a Septic System Works
Typical septic systems consist of a septic tank, a distribution box, and a leaching eld. The septic system treats the home’s wastewater by temporarily holding it in the septic tank. In the tank, waste solids separate from the water. The solids are decomposed by bacteria and later removed when you have the tank professionally pumped. Solids such as grease, fat, and food wastes like coffee grounds don’t break down easily and should be kept out of your septic system. After the partially treated water (the “effluent”) leaves the tank, it flows into the distribution box, which distributes this water into the leaching eld. Drainage holes in the pipe allow the water to drain into gravel trenches and then slowly seep into the soil where it is further treated and purified (secondary treatment). A properly functioning septic system does not pollute the groundwater, but it is always recommended to have the septic system located as far from the well as possible (and downhill from the well). Use common sense — don’t put items into your system that won’t decompose easily, such as dental floss, tissues, cigarettes, cotton swabs, kitty litter, coffee grounds or sanitary napkins. Typically, a garbage disposal may not be used with a septic system unless the system has been specifically designed to accommodate one. Do not put cooking oil or grease down the drain. Chemicals and cleaning products should not go down the drain either, including pesticides, paints, thinners, poisons and even disinfectants. These chemicals will kill the good bacteria in your system that help to purify the sewage. Like many other aspects of maintaining your home, if you have a mountain home with septic system, you will have a septic contractor look after your system and advise you on best practices to ensure your system is working and out of sight, out of mind.
How can I help you? I have over 30 years of sales and marketing experience and a top real estate agent in the mountain town of Crested Butte, Colorado representing affluent clients who are buying and selling their home and ranch properties in the mountains. To see featured properties or search the Crested Butte MLS – visit chriskopf.com. How is the Real Estate Market doing? Click this link to see my monthly Crested Butte Real Estate Market Reports. Whether you need help in determining which types of mountain homes are right for you or have questions about the area, I appreciate the opportunity to earn your business and be your Crested Butte Real Estate Agent.
Chris Kopf, Coldwell Banker Bighorn Realty
Previews® Property Specialist