The last thing any homeowner wants to deal with during the cold dark months of winter is a frozen septic system. But, why exactly do freezing temperatures affect septic systems? And what can be done to avoid septic problems
? Fortunately, there are easy precautions you can take to protect your system this winter.
Here’s what you need to know about cold weather and septic systems, as well as freeze-up prevention tips to ensure a healthy system
Cold Weather’s Affect on Septic Systems
Septic systems have various components which are vulnerable to cold weather. One area that’s more prone to freezing is the pipes that go from the house into the septic tank
. This is typically due to leaky faucets and toilets that create a constant low flow of water. When temperatures drop low, the water can freeze and block the pipe.
The other components of your system (the tank, pipes leading into the drainfield, and the drainfield) are also susceptible to freezing, which is why you should take precautions with your whole system to sidestep issues.
Septic Freeze-Up Prevention Tips
With a little effort, a frozen septic system can be easily avoided. Follow these simple tips to prevent your system from freezing up, thereby avoiding disruption to your household and costly repairs.
Fix any leaky fixtures
Leaks create a constant low flow of water that can easily freeze and block pipes. Take care of leaky water fixtures inside and outside your home — like faucets, toilets, showerheads, and spigots — to keep the pipes leading into the septic tank from becoming an icicle.
Add insulating material
Place a layer of material on top of your entire septic system area to insulate it from the cold. There’s a variety of insulating materials you can use, such as mulch, hay, stray, and bags of leaves. If your system is infrequently used during the winter, make sure the insulation is at least a foot deep.
Limit traffic over the system
Vehicles, heavy machinery, and even people should stay clear of the septic tank and drainfield. Driving, parking, and walking can cause the insulation layer to compact, which makes it less effective.
Be mindful of vacancies
Water retains heat, so if there’s a long period of time when the house is vacant, there won’t be water entering the tank to keep it warm. If you’ll be away from home for over a week, it’s crucial that you place a thick layer of insulating material over the septic system to prevent freezing.
Keep Your System Healthy All Winter Long
Frozen system components are a headache that can be easily prevented with proper maintenance, such as fixing leaks and adding insulation. When you take of your septic system, it will take care of you! If you’re due for a septic tank pumping or cleaning
, there’s no better time than the present to schedule an appointment.