Regardless of where you live or how much you use it, your home’s septic system requires routine care and maintenance. If you’re like most homeowners, though, you might feel intimidated by the prospect of performing these necessary tasks.
That’s why it is important to plan out your routine maintenance in advance. That way, you have a plan that you can stick to, even if you have other home maintenance tasks to attend to.
If you’re in the process of planning septic system maintenance now, consider performing those jobs when fall rolls around in your area. That way, you can ensure that these important jobs are being done at least once a year before the winter’s cold arrives.
In this guide, you’ll learn all about the kinds of septic system maintenance to perform each and every autumn. These tasks range from a simple system flush to proactive steps for preventing winter weather from impacting your septic system’s performance.
No matter when you choose to complete these tasks, don’t wait any longer than necessary. A sub-par septic system can lead to all kinds of smelly and costly problems for your home’s plumbing, after all. In short, you should always be proactive when it comes to performing septic system maintenance – especially in the fall.
Septic System Fall Maintenance Checklist
Among the several seasons, fall is considered the best time to perform routine maintenance on your home’s septic system. In part, this is because many home’s see an increased demand on their septic system throughout the fall seasons. Folks are inside more and more, which means that they’re using their bathrooms much more often!
But more importantly, septic system maintenance in the fall allows you to pre-empt the environmental strain placed on a septic system in the winter. These environmental challenges can exacerbate underlying issues, causing an otherwise productive system to fail suddenly.
So, with this in mind, consider performing all of the following septic system maintenance tasks after fall has settled in your area. Each of these tasks will help decrease the likelihood of septic issues in the winter, as well as during the other seasons of the year.
Pump Your Tank
Far too often, busy homeowners forget to regularly pump out their septic tank. This can lead to all kinds of issues for your septic system. This includes a build-up of solid waste in the septic tank, which in turn can cause clogs and shorten the system’s life substantially.
So, making a habit of regularly pumping out your septic tank is a must. Many homeowners choose to pump out their tank at the same time every year to ensure that it becomes a habit (although the EPA suggests you only need to it every 3-5 years). No matter your cadence, the arrival of fall in your area could easily be used as a reminder of this all-important maintenance task.
However, pumping your tank in the fall is more than just easy to remember. As it turns out, needing to pump your septic tank in the winter is very challenging.
This is because the winter’s cold can make the ground around your septic system very dense. This, along with the presence of snow, can make the whole system hard to access.
So, it is best to be proactive and pump your septic tank in the fall. Otherwise, you may be stuck with the expensive and troublesome task of accessing your tank for pumping during the upcoming winter.
Check and Fix Leaks
Leaky faucets and plumbing in the home are never an enjoyable experience (or for outdoor fountains, as we covered in other guides!) After all, they tend to cause excessive water waste and can become costly in turn when your monthly water bill arrives.
As such, you should fix them as soon as they arise within your in-home plumbing. However, if you’ve been putting off these repairs, the fall is a great time to complete them. Your septic system will thank you for this proactive approach.
That’s because leaks in your home’s plumbing present an opportunity for faults in your overall septic system. After all, a single small leak in an in-home pipe could freeze over when winter temperatures roll in. Any freezing of this kind could then cause one of your septic-connected pipes to burst, which is smelly disaster most homeowners would like to avoid.
Even without the threat of pipe freezing, plumbing fixture leaks can overtax your septic systems capacity. As such, it is best to stop plumbing leaks in your home before they have an opportunity to harm your home’s septic system.
Prepare Wintering Insulation
Believe it or not, your septic system can grow cold over the winter months. But you don’t need to bring it any blankets; instead, you’ll need to plan ahead so that it is protected by a natural blanket of grass.
To be specific, you should plan to grow the grass over your septic field extra-long during the late fall months. If possible, you should grow out said grass as much as an extra 6 inches beyond your lawn’s regular height.
This extra grass acts as an insulator for the septic equipment buried below. This can reduce the chance of freezing in turn.
However, if growing out your grass extra is not an option, you can also spread mulch over the breadth of your septic field’s area. In most cases, an even 8 inches of mulch over that area can trap enough heat underground to prevent freezing – even with snow on the ground.
Plan for Water Efficiency
As noted above, water efficiency is very important to a functional septic system. In fact, the US EPA says that it can make a major difference in the life of your septic system.
So, with that in mind, fall may be a good time to upgrade your home’s water efficiency. Leaks aside, this kind of upgrade should be chiefly focused on upgrading old appliances that use a lot of water. Washing machines and toilets are prime examples, as are shower-heads and faucets.
Regardless of which appliances you replace, be on the lookout for EnergyStar certified models. These often offer great operational efficiency, including the volume of water they use on average.
By decreasing the amount of water your home uses, you effectively reduce the strain put on your septic system. This in turn makes it less likely that the system will encounter problems between routine maintenance checks.
While these water efficiency improvements could be made in any season, you may as well keep them in mind while performing your other fall-time septic system maintenance tasks. That way, you can be sure that your home and its septic system are positioned for a safe, productive winter.