When cold weather hits, septic systems can suffer. Heating your home during the winter months does nothing for your out-of-sight septic tank. Underground septic pipes are particularly susceptible to freezing, though the tank and the drain field will also freeze if necessary precautions are not taken. A frozen septic tank can lead to cracked pipes and costly repairs.
That’s why these tips for could help extend the life of your septic tank.
How can You Tell if Your Septic Tank is Frozen?
How Can You Prevent a Frozen Septic Tank?
The most important thing you can do to keep your pipes from freezing is to ensure that they are deep enough in the ground. Septic pipes should generally be laid 18-24 inches deep to keep frost from penetrating and causing long-term damage to your septic system. Of course, if your home has already been built, your pipes have already been laid, so this tip applies primarily to brand new homes.
Regardless of your pipe placement, consider the following tips for preventing your septic tank from freezing.
Protect your tank with mulch.
Prevent frost by covering the location of the septic tank with a layer of mulch. If it snows, do not shovel it away from the drainfield or the tank. These layers provide extra insulation and keep harsh elements from reaching too far into the ground and hitting the pipes.
Fix leaky faucets.
Watch out for leaks. Drippy faucets, toilets, pipes, etc. running from the house to the tank can eventually freeze in cold weather, causing backups and pipe explosions. Catching them early can save you a headache and a lot of money.
What Can Be Done to Fix Frozen Septic Tanks?
So, your septic tank or pipes are already frozen? Your first inclination might be to try and thaw it out yourself.
DO NOT …
- Run water in the hopes of melting the ice in the pipes. This will only result in more ice, making the problem worse.
- Attempt to melt the ice with salt or any other additives.
- Try to dig up or start a fire near the septic tank.
If the cold weather has gotten to your septic system, the best thing you can do is call a professional.
Specialty plumbers can diagnose the problem, thaw your pipes and, in many cases, resolve the situation with little complication. Enlisting the help of someone who knows what they are doing can save time, money, and headaches.