Septic Checker Frequently Asked Questions

How often should a septic tank be pumped?
A general rule of thumb for those not checking the depth of sludge + scum in their septic tanks is every 2 to 3 years. This varies greatly, however, depending on many variables such as the size of the tank, how many people are living in your household, and what various things are going into the septic tank, such as items from a garbage disposal if you have one. So, you can just spend money and pump every 2 or 3 years, or you can save money by using the Septic Checker periodically (once a year or so) to measure the percentage of sludge + scum in your tank, and only pump when your tank needs pumping (at 30% sludge or higher), which may be significantly longer than the every 2 or 3 years rule of thumb. Using the Septic Checker saves you time and money as you will know when to pump, and not just have to guess at it. You will also be assured that you won't wait too long to pump which can cause severe damage to your septic system.

Can I use the Septic Checker through a cleanout port?
If you have a port that is stright down into your septic tank (through the septic tank cover), as long as it is 3 inches or larger in diameter, then using the port is no problem. If your cleanout port is not a stright shot straight down into the tank, you would not be able to use the port, however, and would need to remove the actual cover off of the septic tank.

How do I know where my septic tank is located?
To find where your septic tank is located, look for a cleanout port near your home. If you don't have one, look for a large pipe (4 inches or so) going out of the foundation of your home. If you have an unfinished basement, it will probably run along or under the rafters, and then drop down inside of the wall and into your foundation to go out. It is usually a straight shot from the cleanout port, or where the large pipe is located where it drops into your foundation, out into your yard to the septic tank. If you are lucky, there will be a cover which is covering a riser from your septic tank which you can remove, and very easily access your tank, or a cleanout port that goes stright down through the septic tank cover. If your tank doesn't have one of these things, though, you can likely use metal rebar to poke into the ground to find where your tank is located more preceisely. Once you find it, use the rebar to map out the tank, and then dig down on the side closest to your home to find the inlet access cover. You may want to install a riser, or have one installed, to make accessing your septic tank easy in the future. Always be aware of wires and natural gas lines. It is recommended, and a legal requirement in many areas, to have the utility companies mark their lines before digging or sticking rebar into the ground to ensure that no lines are cut. You can request for free, in most areas in the United States, to have the utilities marked before digging by calling 811. If you do cut or puncture a gas line, evacuate the area immediately and call 911.

Once I dig out my septic tank, how do I get the lid off to access the tank?
The lid can be made of concrete, or metal. It may or may not have a handle you can grip to remove the lid off of the tank. These lids are quite heavy, so you must excercise extreme caution when removing the lid as you could slip and fall into the septic tank. It is highly recommended to have a helper for removing the septic tank cover. With the lids which have one or more handles on them, after you have gotten any dirt off of them and from around them, they just lift straight off. If your septic tank cover does not have handles, is it probably like a manhole cover, and you will need to use a tool to pry it up to remove it.

Do all septic tanks have to be dug out to use the Septic Checker?
No, many septic tanks have a riser with a cap on it which is screwed down for easy access to the septic tank, or a cleanout port that comes straight up through the septic tank cover. If you have one of these setups, you can use the Septic Checker quite easily without having to do any digging.

What are the dimensions of the Septic Checker?
The septic checker is 8 feet long when in its extended form, or about 2.7 feet long in its broken down form. It uses 1 inch clear PVC pipe. The widest point (at the unions) of the unit is 2 1/4 inch. The carrying case that the Septic Checker goes into is approxiately 3 feet long.

Does it matter if I use the Septic Checker in the inlet or outlet side of the septic tank?
You should generally use the Septic Checker on the inlet side of your tank. There will normally be much less sludge on the outlet side. When a septic tank is pumped, both the inlet side and outlet side should be pumped. Sometimes septic tank pumper services only pump the inlet side, however. For this reason, if you are unsure if your outlet side was pumped the last time, you may want to also measure your outlet side just to make sure it isn't measuring a lot of sludge.

Does it matter if I use the Septic Checker in the inlet or outlet side of the septic tank?
You should generally use the Septic Checker on the inlet side of your tank. The will be much less sludge on the outlet side, and you will not get a correct reading. When a Septic Tank is pumped, both the inlet side and outlet side should be pumped. Sometimes septic tank pumper services only pump the inlet side, however. For this reason, if you are unsure if your outlet side was pumped the last time, you may want to also measure your outlet side just to make sure it isn't measuring a lot of sludge.

You should use the Septic Chekcer on the inlet side of your tank. There will be much less sludge on the outlet side, and you will not get a correct reading.

The sludge is deep in the corners of the tank, is this a problem?
The sludge layer tends to acumulate in the corners of the tank. You should take your measurements away from the corners. It is recommended to take multiple measurements and look at the average since the sludge layer is not completely uniform across the tank.

Can I download a copy of the manual?
Yes, you can download a PDF copy of the instructions manual & safety sheet here: Septic Checker Instructions Manual

I prefer to phone in my order, can I do that instead of placing the order online?
Sure, you can phone your order in at (615) 280-8574. The web site ordering process is fully secure, but feel free to call us with your order if you prefer.

I have a quetion, how can I contact you?
We can be contacted by email, phone or text. The email address is sccontact@septicchecker.com. The phone number for voice or text SMS messages is (615) 280-8574.