August is here, which means colder weather is right around the corner. As September approaches, it is time to start thinking about getting your septic tank ready for fall. How can you prep your septic tank for colder weather? Be sure to keep the following tips in mind.
Pump your tank. Pumping your septic tank is arguably one of the most important aspects of system maintenance. If you don’t pump your septic tank, solid waste will escape from the tank into the drainage system. This can cause a range of problems, including perforations in the leach lines, gravel in the trenches, and the seeping of sewage and waste in your soil. In fact, failing to pump tanks sufficiently is the leading cause of septic tank failure. In order to prevent problems, most septic tanks need to be pumped once every two or three years depending on the size of the tank and the number of people using it, and fall tends to be the ideal time to do so. Once winter comes and the snow starts to pile up, it is much more difficult for a truck to get in to pump out your tank.
Insulate your tank to prevent freezing. Once temperatures drop below freezing, it is possible for your septic tank or main line to freeze. A frozen septic tank is a recipe for disaster. In order to prevent freezing in the colder months of fall and winter, you should be taking steps to properly insulate your septic tank now. Let grass grow an extra 6 inches over the entire septic tank system (this includes the septic tank, all connecting pipes, and the drain field/mound). This will help protect your septic tank from frost and snow by adding an extra layer of warmth. For added protection, you can also spread 8 to 12 inches of mulch over the system. It is important to note that this extra insulation will not only prevent pipes from freezing, it will also keep the bacteria that live within your septic tank functioning optimally. The metabolism of the anaerobic bacteria in your septic tank that break down solid waste materials and treats raw wastewater will slow down in the cold, meaning that they will take longer to break down and treat waste. Giving your septic tank an extra layer of insulation helps keep these bacteria warm, boosting their metabolism and keeping them running efficiently.
Check for leaks and drips. Before the weather starts to get colder, carefully check your home for leaking faucets, dripping toilets, etc. Little leaks and drips create small trickles of water flowing into pipes, and these small trickles freeze very, very easily. If left unattended for too long, something like a leaking faucet could result in a totally frozen-over pipe.
Remember, replacing a septic tank after a septic tank failure will typically cost upward of $5,000. By taking the time to properly prepare your septic tank for colder weather, you will save yourself money and stress in the long run.