house in winter

Do Septic Tanks Freeze?

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?

A sure sign that a septic tank is frozen is poor functionality in things such as your toilet, sink, or shower. Once the water freezes the incoming liquid has nowhere to go thereby causing a backup to occur. This leads to major damages such as flooding and cracking. If you noticed that your water is not draining properly then call an inspector as soon as possible to come out and assess the situation. Should you find out that your septic system is frozen then it is imperative you take action immediately to address it.
frozen septic pipe

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.

straw mulch

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.

woman getting water from an outdoor faucet

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.

a kitchen faucet dripping water

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.


  • 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.

septic pumping truck from norway septic granger indiana

Share this post

who should you call for septic issues?

Norway Septic Inc. is a service oriented company dedicated to providing excellent septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services to homeowners and business owners in the Michiana area.  We take pride in doing the job that others leave behind. ” Our motto stands, “they pump, we clean!”

Call us if you suspect that there are problems with your septic system or if you need septic replacement parts like septic filters. With over 40 years of experience, we know septic systems and can handle just about any septic emergency.

related articles

"Fast, Reliable, and Environmentally-Friendly Septic Services

Scroll to Top