Two Tips To Keep Your Septic System From Freezing During Winter

Posted on: 27 November 2015

The pipes and holding tanks for a septic system are typically buried underground. Because of this, some people assume this will prevent the system from freezing during the winter. However, that's not true at all. If you don't take precautions this winter, you may end up with burst pipes, a yard full of slushy sewage, and giant bill. Here are two tips to prevent your septic system from freezing during the cold season.

Use the System on a Regular Basis

It may seem like an odd piece of advice, but a sudden drop in how frequently fluids flow through the pipes and into the septic tank can cause the fluids to stagnate and gradually freeze. For instance, several children move out of the home leaving behind only the parents who decide to also cut back on the amount of water they use to save money. As a result, water flows through the system too infrequently to keep the fluid in the tank from circulating enough to prevent freezing, leading to a frozen tank when the temperatures drop significantly.

Therefore, finding ways to keep water—particularly hot water—flowing to the septic tank on a regular basis can go a long way towards preventing that outcome. This may require a little creative thinking on your part. For instance, instead of doing laundry all in one day, you could break up the chore into one load per day. Taking a hot bath each night can help send hot water to the tank to melt any ices and keep the overall temperature inside the tank above freezing level. Using the dishwasher at least once per day is a third way to keep water running through the pipes.

Cover the Site

Strangely enough, a layer of snow can act as insulation between your septic tank and the freezing temperatures. Unfortunately, sometimes temperatures drop before the snow can fall or you'll have freezing temperatures without any snowfall at all.

One way you can keep the ground over your septic tank from becoming too cold is to cover it with about a foot of mulch or bags filled with leaves, straw or any material that will stay loose. This will provide enough warmth to keep the ground from freezing and protect your septic tank from the deep cold.

If it does snow before you get a chance to cover the area, it's important to keep people and animals from walking over the ground covering the tank. In addition to destroying the insulating effect of the snow, the moisture will get ground into the dirt which, in turn, will freeze and increase the risk that you'll be dealing with a frozen septic tank at some point.

If your tank or pipes does freeze, it's important to contact a septic system maintenance professional as soon as possible to fix the problem and prevent long-lasting damage. For more information about protecting your septic system over the winter, contact a professional in your area, like those at Linn Septic Service.