“It’s 9 o’clock, do you know where your septic tank is?” Ok, so maybe that’s a bit too dramatic – but it’s a common question for our customers. This is especially true for new homeowners who aren’t as familiar with the inner workings of the house or haven’t needed septic tank service yet.
Knowing the location of your septic tank is very important for maintenance or when you want to plant new landscaping on your property. If you’re searching for your tank, we have some advice that can help.
What is a Septic Tank?
A septic tank is an underground system used to collect and treat wastewater. It is typically made of concrete, fiberglass, or plastic, and holds the wastewater long enough for it to settle so that the solids can settle at the bottom while any oils, grease, gas, and other materials rise to the top.
Septic tanks are usually located near where a house was built and can often be found near outdoor structures such as sheds and patios.
Why you need to know where your septic tank is located
If your home does not use municipal sewage services, then you almost certainly have a septic tank to divert and hold all your wastewater somewhere underground on your property.
While a septic system is dependable and cost-efficient, it’s not 100% maintenance-free.
According to the EPA, a septic tank should be inspected at least every three years and pumped every three to five years. It’s also possible to have a problem with the tank or pipes. In any of those cases, you’ll need to know where the septic tank is located so you can have it serviced.
How to find your septic tank
- Ask your neighbors – If you have a septic tank, then it’s likely your neighbors do as well. Maybe you’ll get lucky and someone will know where your tank is or can help you narrow down the search.
- Check public records – Your local county or municipality may have a septic tank map on file that includes a diagram and dimensions of your property. Before heading to your local records office, look through the home inspection report from when you bought the house to see if there’s any mention of a septic tank and its locations.
- Follow the sewer pipes – If you have to locate the tank yourself, start in the basement and find the sewer pipe that exits the home. This pipe is typically four inches in diameter. Then go outside to the other side of the wall. Using a metal soil probe to poke small holes in the ground, trace the route of the pipe until you hit the tank. You’ll feel a difference once you hit the flat top surface of the tank with the probe.
- Look around the yard – If you have a large property, it can feel like finding a needle in a haystack. To make your search easier, you can rule out areas near structures, paved surfaces, the water well, and hopefully large trees or landscaping. It’s also possible that you will notice an area of grass that’s a bit greener or growing faster near the tank.
- Find the septic tank lid – No matter how you zero in on the location of the tank, you may need to do a little digging to uncover the lid of the tank. You can use the soil probe to identify the perimeter – most tanks will be a roughly 5×7 ft. rectangle. Once you have the edges marked, start shoveling in the center and work your way around until you find the lid. However, unless you’re servicing the tank right away, there’s no reason to open up the lid and release the pungent fumes.
After you find your septic tank, be sure to keep the map in a safe place or mark the location for future use. This will help you avoid adding any structures or planting deep-rooted plants near the path of the sewer pipe and septic tank. A map or hand-written diagram may also come in handy when selling your home.
Why Your Septic Tank Requires Cleaning
Your septic tank is where all the wastewater from your home is collected and stored. It needs to be maintained in order for it to remain efficient and cost-effective. If you don’t maintain your septic tank, all of the solids will start to accumulate and create an environment where bacteria can flourish. This leads to clogs and potential backups, which can be costly to repair.
Regular septic tank cleanings help keep the bacteria levels in check and also help remove any sludge that has accumulated on the bottom of the tank. This will help prolong the life of your septic system and ensure it’s running efficiently and cost-effectively.
How Frequently Should Your Septic Tank be Cleaned?
Now you know that your septic tank should be pumped to maintain it, but how often do you actually need to have it done?
Ideally, your septic tank should be inspected every few years. There is no magical number of years that you should wait between pumping your tank because different households produce different amounts of waste. Generally speaking, the larger the household, the more frequent the cleaning should occur. Other factors that can affect the frequency of septic tank cleaning are how many people live in your home, the size of your tank, how much waste is going into it, and whether you use enzymes in your tank.
It’s important to keep up with regular inspections and cleanings to ensure that your system is running efficiently and safely. This will help save you money in the long run and can help you avoid costly repairs or replacements.
Can You Clean Your Septic Tank Yourself?
The simple answer is yes. However, because cleaning a septic tank is a complicated process, it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Professional septic tank cleaners are experienced in properly and safely cleaning a septic tank and can identify any potential problems that you may not be aware of. It’s important to hire a professional septic tank cleaner who is licensed and insured. This will help ensure that the job is done correctly and safely.
If you need help with finding your septic tank or getting it serviced, don’t hesitate to reach out to the professionals at Rick’s Plumbing. Our experienced team can provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to properly maintain your system. We will be able to give you advice on how often your tank should be cleaned and can give you peace of mind that your septic system is in good working condition.
Do You Require Any Plumbing Services?
If you need plumbing assistance in New Haven or Fairfield County, the name to trust is Rick’s Plumbing. To request expert service, send us a message or call us today at 203-874-6629. From septic tank installation to cleaning, repairs, and maintenance, our experienced professionals are always ready to help. We can also provide drain cleaning services for clogged drains or pipes as well as water heater repair and installation. Contact us today for more information about our available services.