Septic tanks are a surprisingly common enough plumbing feature, depending on where you live. If you’ve recently bought the home in a rush, you might not fully know just where the septic tank is and that can cause some problems down the line! So before disaster strikes, locate your septic tank and get it checked out. Here’s how.
How to Find Your Septic Tank
Track Your Main Sewer Line
For this you’ll need to get yourself a soil probe. Start out in your basement or crawl space, look for the main sewer line leaving your home. It should be about four inches wide. Make a note of where it’s located and then head out to your yard. Take the probe and every couple of feet, insert the probe into the soil and track the sewer line. Follow this along until you find the septic tank, it shouldn’t take long! Most states require septic tanks to be at least five feet away from the home. So take the probe, check every few inches and you should find the tank somewhere between 10 and 25 feet away. The tanks are usually buried between six inches and four feet in the ground so if you stick your probe down and don’t detect anything right away, no worries keep at it and you might find it. It should feel flat and hard (concrete) or fiberglass.
Another way is to use a drain snake and chart the path your snake runs. Plumbers have snakes with cameras attached that can get you great (if gross looking) footage of your drain lines.
Take a Close Look at Your Property
Taking a look at the landscape of your property can also help you pinpoint your septic tank. Typically septic tanks are installed in a way that you can’t tell – buuut things happen! Dips in the soil or small hills can indicate a septic tank is buried there. Now if these hills or dips are between five and twenty-five feet from your home? Well that’s looking warmer, isn’t it? Use that soil probe and start probing.
Sometimes, imperfections in the landscape can tell you where your septic tank sits. Septic tanks are usually installed in such a way that you can barely tell. But dips in the soil or small hills may indicate a septic tank buried underneath.
You might take a look instead for the septic lid cover. These should be at ground level or just below, so easy to find.
Want to know what not to look for?
Your Septic Tank Shouldn’t Be Beneath…
Your water well, if you have one
Check Your Records
Call your county health department and get your hands on property records! They should have a survey map of your property which would include a septic tank map! Older property records might not have all the info you need, but most counties do hold on to records of septic tank installations. You can also look to your home inspection paperwork or deed and see if they list the location.
If all else fails… ask your nieghbors! Knowing where their septic tanks are located can help you trouble shoot yours, especially if the homes were built at the same time.
Septic tanks can need some special TLC so if you’re experiencing any plumbing issues don’t try to tackle them yourself! Give a plumber a call, let them know you have a septic tank and trust the professionals – we’ll get you sorted out in no time!