Do Septic Tanks Freeze? How To Protect Them in The Winter
Winter is here, and with it comes freezing temperatures that can wreak havoc on your septic system. Here are some ways that freezing weather affects your septic system in winter and ways you can prevent damage.
Do septic tanks freeze? Yes, freezing temperatures can cause different parts to freeze up. The pipes leading from your home to your septic tank are particularly vulnerable. The pipes leading into the drain field, from the septic system, and the actual drain field pipes are also susceptible to cold temperatures. Do not add antifreeze or salt mixtures to your system. Continuously running water will not fix what is already frozen. Worst of all, never attempt to start a fire above ground of your pipes.
If you have leaky faucets and toilets that create a small, but constant, flow of water, they can freeze up more easily, and block up pipes. The good news is that if your septic system is used frequently you have a much smaller chance of freezing up. If you have a constant flow of water your system should escape freezing issues. If your system isn’t used for a long time, perhaps because this property sits empty during colder months, there’s an increased chance of frozen pipes in your septic system.
What to do to Prevent Pipes from Freezing
Covering up your pipes with an insulation like mulch is a great way to keep them from freezing. If your pipes are covered in mulch and then snow, these two will act as insulators. They act as a barrier for frost, ensuring that it doesn’t make its way into the ground, and into your septic tank system and pipes.
Living in a colder climate where it does snow can benefit you because the snow helps to insulate the pipes. Make sure that the snow on your drain field or pipes doesn’t become compacted in any way, as this increases the chances of frost getting into the ground. Snow becomes compacted when there is heavy foot traffic or even vehicles driving over that area of snow. It is best to limit traffic, whether foot or car, over a drain field, as septic tanks can crack, and drainage pipes can shift or sink. Cracked tanks or shifted pipes can be a costly fix. Adding mulch over the area of your drain field and septic system pipes if other cover doesn’t exist, like grass, can save you a lot of headaches.
If you have any leaky faucets, toilets, or other issues, it’s best to get them taken care of before the cold weather sets in. It can help to prevent problems and helps to conserve water. If your system does freeze, it’s best to call a professional septic system service right away. They can help you identify where the freezing point is in your system. If you’re unable to find the freezing point, your tank can still be used as a holding tank until the problem area thaws. This can be costly, but it’s a great short-term solution to prevent a bigger problem. Take precautions before winter sets in, and pay attention to your system. If you need help, it’s best to call a professional right away, before a small problem develops into a bigger one.