Septic Tanks in Winter

Winter can do wonders for a septic tank system – if the snow cover is significant. If, however, little snow occurs, frost without a fluffy snow insulator can wreak havoc on septic systems. Here are a few things to look out for this winter in regard to septic systems.

First and foremost, keep an eye on the point where the septic pipe leaves the home basement wall to the septic tank. If this sewer pipe isn’t at least four feet from ground level and has no extra insulation, dry frosty winters will undoubtedly cause this pipe to freeze. Wind from the north and west sides of the house can move snow out of the way, which makes this pipe even more susceptible to freezing. If the pipe freezes, a dam of ice can prevent water flow, backing up the system and causing some real issues.

The same issue can occur just above the tank itself if there’s not a steep enough slow for run off of freezing water to happen. Insulating the tank is the best way to prevent this.

The soil treatment system (also called a drain field) may not function properly if the ground it’s installed in is wet or soggy. If this happens, insulation won’t be of much help and an expert should be called in to replace the drain field.

The bottom line is that undisturbed snow is a great way to insulate your system. Counterintuitively, compacting or removing that snow can lead to a lot of issues with freezing in different parts of your septic system, so avoid snow removal or driving vehicles over the tank during the winter.

For all of your septic needs, contact Freedom Septic Services. We’re happy to help!


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