Winter is often considered “the most wonderful time of the year,” but failing to properly prepare your septic system for the cold winter months can make things a little less wonderful. Taking the time to winterize your septic system helps ensure that freezing temperatures don’t turn into costly damage.
What Happens to Your Septic System During Winter?
Seasonal residences, such as cabins, are particularly susceptible to freezing pipes. This causes damage to surrounding property, resulting in expensive repairs. This is because they are often left unused during the winter months. However, even in a normal residence, the water in outdoor pipes and septic tanks can freeze and create problems.
Why is Preparing Your Septic System for Winter Important?
Winterizing your system is important for several reasons. All the water in your pipes has the potential to freeze, which can damage the pipes. Taking steps toward preventing broken pipes saves money on costly repairs. Winterizing your septic system lengthens the lifespan of your septic system.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Septic System?
Protect your septic system from the cold weather by employing the following tips.
1. Winterize your pipes.
In a septic system left unused through the freezing months, it is important to turn off the water and drain all pipes. Check to make sure there are no leaks or drips, because even small amounts of water can freeze and cause damage.
After the water has been turned off, drain the pump by running it for a few moments to clear out any water, open faucets and leave them open, and disconnect the hoses to appliances, such as the washing machine and dishwasher.
Antifreeze should not be added to your plumbing, but you can add RV antifreeze to the traps in the shower, sink drains, etc. Remember to flush the lines in the spring when all of the hoses have been reconnected.
2. Inspect your furnace.
If you will be leaving a high-efficiency furnace on for the winter, make sure there is no water draining into the septic system. If there is, reroute the drain hose into a large bucket, or some other drain that is not connected to the septic system.
3. Consider pumping your septic tank.
If the septic system will be used again before the soil temperature begins to rise, consider having your septic tank pumped before winter. Pumping your tank will allow the effluent leaving the septic tank to be warm, which is desirable for the soil treatment area.
4. Protect the soil treatment area.
As much as possible, attempt to insulate your soil treatment area. Stop mowing the grass covering the area in the early fall. The longer grass captures fallen snow that acts as insulation over the field. Do not park cars on the drainfield. Consider putting several inches of mulch or straw over the drainfield to help to insulate the tank and pipes in the drainfield.
5. Schedule routine septic maintenance.
What if your septic tank freezes?
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. If you would like to schedule a septic system inspection by one of our professionals, call us today.