5 Winter Septic System Problems and How to Avoid Them

Being met with septic woes during the winter months is never a fun experience. What makes matters worse, is that the ability to tend to plumbing issues during the cold weather is often a harder task for plumbers. There are several common septic system issues that can happen as a result of the frigid weather, but there are just as many ways to minimize the risk of them occurring.

Frozen Tanks and Lift Stations

Homeowners are often unaware that their entire tank can freeze if the weather is cold enough. An extension of the tank called the lift station also has the potential of freezing. The lift station is what pumps wastewater from one level to another. This particular septic unit has the ability to stall if its electrical components become frozen. This can be prevented by installing a layer of insulation that is at least one foot deep over the septic tank itself, extending it past the edges by approximately five feet.

Freezing of the Drainfield

There are typically distribution boxes located in the drainfield, and the contents inside of them are subject to freezing. The piping units that are going through them also have the potential to become frozen by the frigid temperatures. Adding an adequate layer of insulation in this case is a great preventative method as well. Just be sure to place the insulation on top of each distribution box, as well as along the pipes going through them.

A Significant Increase in Ground Moisture

With all of the ice, sleet, and snow that is present during the winter, the ground can often get highly saturated. Unfortunately, the drainfield is not immune to the impact of these high moisture levels. Once the ground becomes too wet, it is hard for plumbers to get their truck to the tank in a prompt and effective manner. Keeping up with routine maintenance can avoid the need for your septic tank to be serviced during these months.

Frozen Sewer Lines

The sewer line is the pipe that runs from your home to the actual septic tank itself. These are some of the most common pipes to become frozen, but preventing them from freezing is quite easy. When the water system in your home is being used regularly, the odds of pipes freezing dramatically decreases. Be sure to run your water throughout the day in order to ensure continual flowing within the entire septic system.

When Lines Exit Basement Walls

Septic lines frequently exit the home throughout the basement walls. These exits are usually located within the north or west areas of the property. Unfortunately, these areas accumulate the most frost, which tends to lead to freezing and water backing up. Surrounding the pipe’s exit with hay or leaves can serve as a form of natural insulation, reducing the risk of freezing.

Employing these techniques during the winter months is sure to reduce the risk of you experiencing any weather-related septic issues. All of these preventative methods are cost-effective, and will save you large quantities in repair costs. Taking the steps ahead of time to ensure a well-operated system will provide you with the reassurance that your home’s septic system remains both functional and reliable at all times.

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