How Do I Know If I Have a Septic Tank?

A illustration of a worker removing a septic lid with a lid lifter.

Septic tanks are common in many residential areas, but some homeowners may not even know if they have one. In this article, we’ll explore the telltale signs that can help you determine whether your property is equipped with a septic tank and where to find it.

Where Are Septic Tanks Located?

Septic tanks are always buried underground, making them inconspicuous. To locate your septic tank, you can start by considering the following factors:

  1. Age of the Property: Older homes are more likely to have septic systems, as municipal sewer systems may not have been available when constructed.
  2. Property Records: Check your property records or the previous owner’s disclosure documents. They may contain information about the septic system.
  3. Ask Your Neighbors: Neighbors with similar housing situations can provide insights into whether they have septic tanks.
  4. Visible Indicators: Look for lids or access points, usually circular or rectangular and made of concrete or plastic. These are where septic professionals access the tank for maintenance.

Do I Have a Septic Tank?

To definitively determine whether your property has a septic tank, consider the following steps:

  1. Check your water bill: The easiest way to check if you have a septic tank is to check your water bill. If there is a sewer charge listed on your bill, then you are connected to the municipal water system and don’t have a septic tank. This isn’t always the case, such as with some properties connected to a well and wouldn’t use the municipal water. 
  2. Inspect the Yard: Look for signs like small mounds or depressions in your yard. These can indicate the presence of a septic tank or drainfield. Septic tanks are typically located in a straight line away from the house following the plumbing line. 
  3. Check for Odors: Septic tanks can sometimes emit unpleasant odors, especially when they need maintenance. If you notice persistent foul smells in your yard, it could indicate a septic tank issue.
  4. Examine Plumbing Records: Review your home’s plumbing blueprints or records, which can be found in your local building department. These documents often include information about the septic system’s location.
  5. Consult a Professional: If you’re still uncertain, it’s wise to contact a septic system professional like ACE Septic and Waste. They can inspect to confirm the presence of a septic tank and provide guidance on maintenance and repairs.

Remember that septic systems require regular maintenance, including pumping every few years, so it’s crucial to identify whether you have one and ensure it’s in proper working condition.

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