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What Is a Perc Test and Why Does It Matter?

Posted on Friday, December 1, 2017
You love the property, but is the soil suitable for your needs?

What a great property for sale! It has everything that you have dreamed about: a few trees, sunlight that would stream right into your kitchen windows, and a location that is close enough to all of the amenities that you want. You are already building your dream home in your mind, but before you actually buy that piece of land, you need to look realistically at it as an option. Before you purchase vacant land, you may need to have a perc test done. What is a perc test and why would you have one?

What is a Perc Test?

When you are living in a more remote area, you need to check to see what kinds of services are available on that property for sale. It could be that you have easy access to town supplies of water or garbage pick up, or you could be on your own.

If you are living outside of town, you will likely be on a septic system. A perc test is a test that checks to see if the ground near your future home is suitable for this septic system. A perc test is a soil evaluation that tests the rate at which water drains through the soil. The drainage on a property helps determine whether you can install a septic system.

What Does The Process Look Like?

You know that when you go to a beach or water vegetables that grow in sandy soil, the soil easily absorbs water. Soils with higher sand and gravel content are better at drainage. During a perc test, the tester will dig two or more holes that are 30 or more feet away from each other.

The tester will look at the seasonal water table and the characteristics of the soil at that depth. He or she will also specifically examine how water percolates into the soil. The conclusions from this assessment help determine:

  • Whether the property is suitable for building
  • How big the leach field should be
  • Whether it would be better to install an alternative septic system
Each type of soil drains water differently. Make sure that you have the right soil for a septic system.

What Exactly Do I Need to Do?

Each area of the country and even each individual town has its own regulations for soil and perc testing prior to building on a site. Make sure that you thoroughly understand your legal requirements before you purchase a property.

Why a Perc Test is Important

The results of a perc test are not incidental information to inform your purchase of land. They are key to determining whether or not you can build on a piece of land. According to Building Advisor, "on rural sites without municipal sewage systems, a failed perc test means that no house can be built — which is why you should make any offer to purchase land contingent on the site passing the soil and perc tests."

On a practical level, a perc test ensures that your soil will work well for your septic system. It helps ensure that you do not run into a logistical nightmare while building or experience health impacts or problems with your home due to a failed septic system.

At Open for Homes, we want to make sure that you are pleased with your decisions about your home. Whether you are buying or renting, we have answers for you. Visit the blog at Open For Homes today.

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