What You Can Do About A Septic System's Sewer Line Freezing

Posted on: 14 June 2016

It's very rare that a septic system's sewer line will freeze, since it's usually active enough that waste is flowing through it during the winter which keeps the pipe warm. Unfortunately, a sewer line for a septic tank could still freeze in extreme weather conditions or when the pipe is not insulated properly. When this happens, the waste has nowhere to go and will flow back towards your home and come out of the toilets and sinks.

Take Preventative Measures When Possible

If you know that very cold weather will be coming through your town, you should take preventative measures to make sure that the sewer line does not freeze. Start by using hay to cover the ground above the part of your yard where the sewer pipe is. Where you have access to pipes that are above ground, cover them using Styrofoam insulation.

While letting your faucets drip slightly is a great way to prevent your cold water pipes from freezing, this can actually cause ice dams to form in your septic system's sewer line if they are not properly insulated.

Heat The Pipes Up

When the sewer line freezes and does not cause a complete blockage, there are some tricks to clearing it on your own. Try running hot water down your drains to melt those ice dams. You can take a hot shower or pour boiling water down the drain. If this does not unclog the pipe quickly, avoid doing this any more since you could have a complete blockage in your line. If that's the case, the hot water could create a build up of pressure and cause the sewer line to burst.

If the sewer line is not deep underground, you may need to dig down to where the pipe is and apply heat tape to the pipe. A plumber can do this for you if you do not feel confident doing it yourself.

Use A Thawing Machine

For clogs that have completely blocked the pipe, you'll need a pipe thawing machine. It works by running a low voltage current through the pipe that will help melt anything that is inside it. Unfortunately, it only works on pipes that are made with iron or copper, so it will not work if you have a PVC sewer line going to your septic tank.

For more ways to clear a frozen sewer pipe, reach out to a septic system service company for advice.