How do you know if you have a septic tank? Septic tanks are common for homes and businesses in rural areas. There are a few things to look for when determining whether or not you have a septic tank that is tell-tale signs.
What most people do not know is that septic tanks are buried underground. They tend to be located near the property line, but not always! This is why it is not as simple as a quick glance at your backyard.
A septic system is made up of two components: an underground holding tank, also known as a septic tank; and an above-ground treatment plant, which filters wastewater out into the soil.
If you live in a rural area, then chances are you have a septic system for your property. But if you are unsure of whether or not you have a septic tank system, here are a few things you can do to find out.
Inspect Your Property & Look Underground
Take a look around your property to see if you can spot where the tank is buried. You can invest in a soil probe, which will help you find the main sewer line underground. If you follow the main sewer line, then you can follow the trail and eventually find your septic tank’s location.
Most septic tanks are buried five to 25 feet away from the home. Your septic tank will most likely sit between six inches and four feet underground, so make sure that you are putting your metal soil probe deep enough.
As you inspect your property, keep an eye out for the septic lid. You should be able to find it with a metal soil probe. The septic lid should sit at or just below ground level.
If you are not sure where to begin, look at the horizon. Do you notice any unnatural hills or mounds in your backyard? This could be where your septic system is located underground!
Ask Your Neighbors
You can also ask your neighbors where their septic tanks are located in their backyard. This can help you in your search to find where your septic tank is located. If your neighbor’s septic tank is located 20 feet from their house, then that is a good starting point for you to look in relation to your own home.
Contact Your Local City Government
If you’ve recently purchased the property, it should have included records about your septic system. If you didn’t receive these records, contact your local city government.
They’ll be able to provide more information on where public records indicate a septic tank should be installed. You’ll want to ask for a property survey map and a septic tank map. The county records for building permits can often be found with helpful hints like how far away from a septic tank should the house be and what size it is.
Unfortunately, these records may not be available for older buildings. However, the county should still at least have some records for when the septic tank was installed.
Check Your Water Bill
Does your water bill show a “sewer amount charged” every month? If the answer is no, then you likely have a septic tank! Homes hooked up to a septic system are not connected to city utilities. Also, if you use well water and don’t have a water meter, this is another warning sign that you’re using a septic system.
You might be interested in: How much does a septic tank system cost?
Call Atlanta’s #1 Septic Company
If you still can’t locate it, contact The Original Plumber & Septic! Our septic tank experts can inspect the property and give an accurate answer as to whether or not there is one in place.
Your septic system is important to your day-to-day life. If you don’t maintain it properly, you could end up in a mess. Don’t worry, though, because our team of septic experts is here to help!
At The Original Plumber & Septic, we offer honest, upfront pricing. We don’t want you to have any surprises down the road. We value integrity and professionalism so you can trust that we’ll get the job done right. Give us a call for a free estimate on your septic service!
Frequently Asked Questions
How does a septic system work?
A septic system takes household sewage and separates it into solid waste and liquid waste. It treats it with bacteria to convert the organic matter in the sewage into less harmful solids. These solids can be easily spread on your lawn as fertilizer and liquefy what was once human waste into something that can be safely disposed of. It does this by draining it out through an outlet pipe.
If this sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry! Septic systems are designed to automatically handle this process without any extra effort from homeowners. A well maintained septic system should last you as long as 40 years.
What should I do once I find my septic tank’s location?
Once you locate your septic tank, be sure to mark it. You can use a stake in the ground or something like garden pavers. Make sure it won’t get knocked away in heavy winds or other inclement weather.
You should also create a septic tank map. Your property should have included one already, but if this did not come with your property records, you can make your own. This way, if you move out of the property in the future, the next homeowner can have it.
How often do I need my septic system pumped?
We recommend having your septic system pumped every three to five years. Routine septic maintenance helps prevent clogs in your tank from forming. We can also detect any issues with your septic tank during routine septic tank maintenance.
How can I tell if my septic tank needs to be pumped?
If you just moved into a new home, you may not be sure when the septic system was last serviced. We recommend giving us a call to complete a septic system inspection so you can stay proactive and prevent more costly issues.
However, if you see any of these warning signs, call us immediately. These are common warning signs of you have a full septic tank.
- Standing water over the drain field; pooling water means that your effluent does not have anywhere to go
- Rapid flora and fauna growth, like extra tall grass and weeds, over the drain field from excess waste water
- Foul odor or sewage smell coming from your leach field
- Toilets are slow to flush and sinks are slow to drain, even after treating them
If you do not have your septic tank pumped regularly, your septic tank could overflow. This will result in a sewage backup. If you see any of the tell-tale signs of an impending sewage backup, try using less water (like being cautious of laundry loads and how many showers you take). The last thing you want is for sewage and other contaminants to back up into your home!
To prevent sewage backing up, try using septic-safe toilet paper. Do not put anything down the toilet that should not be flushed. Also, avoid putting things like hot cooking oil or grease down your sinks. These can solidify in your pipes. You should also avoid using chemical cleaners, as this can disrupt your septic system’s bacteria. Use boiling water or a drain snake instead.