What to Do When Your Septic System is Frozen
- Thaw via the drain. If you’re so inclined, you can also try to thaw them out yourself.
- Use a hot water bib.
- Use a steam machine.
- Inspect the septic lines.
- Add insulation.
- Check for plumbing leaks.
What should you do if your septic system freezes this winter?
- In the event your septic system does freeze this winter, contact a professional pumper or installer to identify the point of freezing and correct the problem. If you can’t immediately fix the issue, the septic tank can be used as a holding tank until it thaws.
How do you unfreeze a septic tank?
The only safe DIY to try is to heat the section of pipe that is frozen. This only works if you can safely access that area. If you can, use a heat lamp to thaw out the pipe or an electric heater to warm the air and melt the ice, otherwise it is recommended that you call in the professionals.
What happens if my septic tank freezes?
When exposed to persistent freezing temperatures, the water and liquids within these parts freezes. A frozen septic tank can push waste back up into your pipes, causing backups, overflowing sinks and toilets, and a host of other health concerns.
Why would a septic tank freeze?
Your system can freeze when the septic line isn’t buried deep enough in the ground to avoid frost, or if compacted soil is covering the septic line. The leak allows a slow continuous flow of water through pipes, which freeze and lead to a blocked pipe. Infrequent use can also cause a septic system to freeze.
How can you tell if your septic is frozen?
Symptoms Your Septic System Is Frozen
- First up is the toilet. With a frozen system, the functionality of the toilet is removed and it won’t flush.
- None of the sinks in the home are going to drain.
- The washing machine water line is not going to work.
How do you unclog a frozen sewer line?
One of the most commonly recommended fixes for a frozen sewer line is to pour very hot water (not boiling) down the drain in order to thaw the blockage.
Can a septic holding tank freeze?
Water holds a great deal of heat, and with daily use, septic tanks rarely freeze, even in the coldest weather. However, when the house is vacant for a week or more, water does not enter the tank to keep it warm and it may freeze. Often, water will freeze in the distribution boxes for the drainfield laterals.
What temp does septic freeze?
If you won’t be using the home in the winter, keeping it heated at 56 F to 58 F is one option for freeze prevention. If you’re rarely there during the winter, or if you drain your water and winterize your home, have the tank pumped out before freezing temperatures set in.
Can my septic pump freeze?
You already know that winter temperatures can freeze plumbing pipes. But did you know that frost can freeze your septic system, too? Yikes! Depending on the depth of septic pipes and depth of frost, your septic pipes, tank, or soil treatment system can freeze.
Can you pump out a septic tank in winter?
Winter is really the only season we don’t recommend pumping septic systems. Unfortunately, frozen ground, heavy snow, and slippery ice can make it extremely difficult for even our skilled technicians to properly dig up and securely cover the septic tank.
How do you winterize a septic system?
Winterize the pipes Shut off the water main and open all faucets to let them drain. Flush the toilets a few times until the water no longer fills the tank and bowl. Drain all appliances, including your water heater. Completely empty your septic system’s pressure tank.
Do septic tank blankets work?
When to Use Frost Blankets Your septic tank will be sufficiently insulated. An added feature of frost blankets is that they are waterproof and snowproof. They can hold snow, which will create an added layer of insulation over the tank. No matter what conditions are above ground, your septic tank is covered!
Does cold weather affect septic systems?
During winter, the freezing temperature outside makes the various components of your septic system freeze up. With the septic tank being frozen, the waste does not break down quickly, which causes problems for the residents.
How to Handle a Frozen Septic System
You are probably well aware that freezing weather can cause plumbing pipes to burst. However, did you know that frost may cause your septic system to freeze as well? Yikes! Your sewage pipes, tank, or soil treatment system may freeze, depending on the level of the frost and the depth of the septic pipes and frost. Backflow of dirty water and sludge can occur in your home’s plumbing, resulting in the filling of your tub, toilet, and faucets. Wow, what a shambles!
How Does It Happen?
In general, a septic system has four major components where freezing might occur: the tank, the drain field, the septic tank, and the drain field.
- This is the line that runs from the house to the septic tank. The sewage treatment plant
- It is the conduit that connects the septic tank to the soil treatment system (also known as the drainfield). The system for treating the soil
Generally speaking, snow acts as an insulator for soil, but moving cars or heavy equipment over the area of your septic system will compress the snow and cause frost to penetrate deeper into the soil. The contents of your septic tank’s frozen liquid contents might freeze and push back up into your pipes if your septic tank is completely full. Having a professional inspect the tank prior to winterizing it is critical in order to guarantee that it has the capacity to withstand the volume of water flushed during the freezing season.
During periods of extreme cold, it is critical that your septic system receives regular usage, that water temperatures are raised, and that you use more water overall.
My Septic System Froze — What Should I Do?
If you have a clogged septic system, it is NOT something that can be fixed by performing a simple Google search! If your septic system becomes frozen, the first thing you should do is contact a professional. Pumps should be turned off immediately if you hear water running. This will help you avoid an expensive water leak. Avoid making these typical blunders as a homeowner:
- Do not put antifreeze, salt, or a septic system additive into the system
- Instead, use water. There must be no discharge of sewage onto the ground surface. Never light a fire over the system in an attempt to warm it up
- Instead, use compressed air. It is not necessary to run water continuously to attempt to defrost the system.
How Professional Plumbers Handle Frozen Septic Systems
There are a variety of reasons that might contribute to the production of ice in septic systems. An experienced plumber will first need to de-ice your frozen septic line and re-open the system before they can handle the specific issue at hand. An on-site examination of your septic tank symptoms will be performed by a licensed expert plumber. If your system has not yet frozen, a plumber may use heat tape and tank heaters to keep it operating at a consistent temperature. If the system has frozen, specialists might use steamers and high-pressure jetters to try to thaw the ice and restore normal operation.
In order to assess where the freezing is occurring and whether or not repairs are required, cameras can be deployed down the pipes.
If the temperature is simply too low, your alternatives are restricted, and you may be forced to utilize the tank in the system as a holding tank until the system thaws naturally on its own.
When the tanks are completely full, a septic pumper will be required to empty them. Due to the high expense of this alternative, it’s critical to avoid having your septic system freeze in the first place!
Prevent a Frozen Septic System
There are a number of actions you can take to avoid having your septic system freeze. Discuss your options with a Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Pleasantville plumber in order to identify the most effective course of action. Some tasks, such as insulating your system, will necessitate the assistance of a specialist.
- Mulch, straw, leaves, hay, or other loose material should be spread over pipes, tanks, and soil treatment systems to give additional insulation (if your system is presently frozen, skip this step so that it does not interfere with thawing in warmer temperatures)
- During late summer and early fall, let lawn grass to grow taller over the tank and soil treatment area to aid in the provision of additional insulation. During really cold conditions, warm water should be used more regularly. Take hot showers, spread out your laundry routine over the week, and make use of your dishwasher. If you know you will be away for a lengthy period of time, make arrangements ahead of time. This might involve requesting that someone use large amounts of water in the home on a frequent basis or that you empty your tank before leaving. Repair any leaking plumbing fixtures or appliances in your home before the cold weather sets in. This helps to minimize freezing problems and allows your system to operate more efficiently all year round. Keep cars off of the ground above the system to avoid compacting snow and frost
- Ask your plumber to provide coverings and insulation to any risers, inspecting pipes, and manholes
- Increase the amount of insulation in your system by having a plumber replace conventional pipe with insulated pipe, placing styrofoam over septic tanks, and increasing the amount of soil cover.
Don’t let your septic system freeze
As winter approaches, it’s possible that Jack Frost may be nibbling at the bottom of your septic system. “Freezing temperatures may cause difficulties for septic systems,” says Dan Olson, a communications expert with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. “Frozen temperatures can cause problems for septic systems.” Every season, it’s vital to think about your septic system and to follow particular guidelines, but maintenance is especially critical during the winter months.” The following suggestions will assist you in keeping your septic system warm and happy this winter, as well as avoiding the expenditures and hassles associated with septic system components that freeze.
- To offer additional insulation, spread a layer of mulch 8 to 12 inches deep over the pipes, tank, and soil treatment system. This might be straw, leaves, hay, or any other loose material that will remain in place and not compact. When installing new systems late in the year, it is especially vital to ensure there is sufficient vegetative cover to prevent weeds from growing in. However, if the system is currently frozen, do not add mulch at this time
- Doing so will cause the thawing to be delayed until the following spring. If you’re concerned that your system is starting to freeze, fill a container with water—the warmer the better. Spread up your laundry routine so that you only have to do one warm/hot load each day if possible. Take hot showers and put the dishes in the dishwasher. It is not recommended to leave water flowing all of the time since this will overburden the septic system. Are you going to be away for a lengthy amount of time? Have someone use warm water in the house on a regular basis, or have your tank pumped out before you leave. If you have any leaking plumbing fixtures or appliances in your house, you should fix them right away. This will aid in the prevention of freezing problems and the overall performance of your system throughout the year. Keep all car, animal, and human traffic off the highways and bridges. This is a regulation that should be followed throughout the year since compacted snow and soils cause frost to penetrate deeper and more quickly. Pay particular attention to the space between the home and the tank, and keep a watch on your system’s performance. Immediately call an onsite specialist to assist in determining the source and treatment for any seeping or ponding that may develop. Increase the amount of insulation in your system. There are several options for doing so, including replacing pipes with insulated pipes, installing expanded foam panels over septic tanks, and increasing soil cover.
If your system freezes
If your septic system freezes, you should contact a septic system specialist. The MPCA website contains a search engine that may be used to locate certified professionals in your region. For thawing pipelines, professionals use machines such as steamers and high-pressure jetters, which are referred to as jetters. Other options for resolving a freezing problem include the use of heat tape and tank heaters, among others. It is possible to send cameras down pipes to discover where the freezing is occurring.
The system will not take liquid until the region thaws in the spring.
When the tank starts to fill up, call a pumper to empty it out for you.
For more information
Visit our information for homeowners website for more information on how to keep your system in good working order all year. The date is Wednesday, October 20, 2021.
What To Do If Your Septic Tank Freezes – Septic Tank Pumping – B&B Pumping – Top Rated Septic Cleaning Services
With winter in full swing, it’s time to crank up the heat, pile on the blankets, and curl up with a good book and a hot cup of tea in order to remain warm. However, although you may be able to remain warm, your septic tank may be having a more difficult time keeping warm this winter. While Weatherford and the surrounding region seldom get too cold, temperatures can dip below freezing at any time throughout the winter season. This might indicate that your septic tank system has become clogged.
Take a deep breath and go through this instruction from B B Pumping to get a better understanding of the process.
How Does A Septic Tank Freeze?
It is amazing how frequently sewage tanks freeze during the cold months. This is due to the fact that there are four components that are sensitive to cooler temperatures. Included among them are the pipe that connects your home to your tank, the pipe that connects your tank to the drain field, the drain field itself, and the septic tank itself. When exposed to freezing temperatures for an extended period of time, the water and liquids contained within these sections freeze.
A frozen septic tank may cause waste to back up into your pipes, resulting in backups, overflowing sinks and toilets, and a number of other health hazards for you and your family.
What Are the Signs of a Frozen Tank?
Unfortunately, because the indicators of a frozen tank are so clear, it is rather simple to determine whether your tank has frozen. It is possible that your toilet may not flush due to frozen pipes. There is nowhere for the water to go, and it will not drain out of the basin. The sinks in your bathroom, kitchen, and garage will not drain properly, and the same will be true for your bathtubs and showers. You will also notice that items such as your washing machine and ice maker will not function properly.
Here’s What You Shouldn’t Do
If your septic tank has become frozen, there isn’t much you can do to defrost it on your own, unfortunately. Any action you take might, in fact, exacerbate the situation. Avoid making the following blunders in particular:
- Please do not add any goods to the tank, such as antifreeze or salt, or any of the other items we mentioned in a prior article. Please do not allow your sewage to overflow into the soil above your septic tank system. You should avoid attempting to defrost the system by running hot water through your pipes. It is not recommended to attempt to warm the septic tank from the outside by lighting a fire on top of the tank site or directing heating equipment towards the ground.
The best course of action is to contact your local septic tank technician and delegate responsibility for the matter.
Call Us Instead!
Next winter, you’ll be aware of the need to prepare your septic tank system for the autumn season in order to prevent it from freezing again. But if it happens, we’ll deal with it in the proper manner. We’ll do a thorough check of the system and use tools such as heat tape and tank heaters to gradually defrost your tank. Unfreezing the system can also be accomplished by the use of steamers and high-pressure tank jetters. Do you require a septic tank inspection before the onset of the winter season?
We provide pumping services in the cities of Fort Worth, Decatur, Azle, Haslet, and Weatherford – please see our service area map for more information.
Tips to Prevent Your Septic System from Freezing
Your septic system may freeze in the same way that water pipes can. Here are some pointers on how to avoid the damage that chilly weather may do. Meet the Professional: Sara Heger is a teacher and researcher at the University of Minnesota’s Onsite Sewage Treatment Program. She has a master’s degree in environmental science. She provided the following recommendations to avoid a frozen septic system:
- Make use of it. It is prone to freezing if there is no hot water passing through the septic system. This can cause damage to the tank, pipes, the filter, and its housing, as well as a backup of waste into the house, among other things. That will be both expensive and unwelcome
- Snow cover acts as an excellent insulator over your septic system. Don’t just shovel it away
- Insulate the system if there isn’t enough snow cover before the temperature dips below freezing. Straw bales or specially designed insulating blankets can be used for this purpose. Several weeks before the conclusion of the growing season, stop mowing the grass above the irrigation system. An additional layer of insulation is provided by more plants. Don’t leave a trickle of water flowing to keep pipes from freezing, as some people do to keep them from freezing. It’s possible that that chilly trickle of water will generate an ice buildup in your septic system. If you aren’t going to be in the house during the winter, keeping it heated between 56 and 58 degrees Fahrenheit is one alternative for freezing avoidance. You should get your tank drained out before freezing temperatures set in if you are only sometimes home during the winter or if you empty your water and winterize your home before freezing temperatures set in. Put the tank as deep as feasible in the ground to help keep it safe from freezing. When it comes to concrete tanks, the maximum depth is eight feet, measured from the tank’s top. Plastic tanks cannot be buried as deeply as concrete tanks
- They may only be sunk to a maximum depth of 24 inches. Burying a tank deep, on the other hand, might make maintenance more difficult since it makes it impossible to see into the corners where sludge can accumulate.
Septic tanks can take up to a year to “settle” after being installed. When constructing a tank and drain field, it is recommended that the land above them be “crowned” to reduce settling effects. This is critical because water that collects around the tank might freeze. Using pea gravel around manhole covers is not recommended if you have to add additional fill as a consequence of settling. The water does not flow away from the components of your system as a result of this; rather, it flows toward the tank.
After that, groundwater runs into the tank, decreasing the system’s life expectancy.
Precautions Can Prevent Frozen Septic Systems
Take action now to keep your septic system from freezing during the winter months. A frozen septic system is a common source of annoyance for many individuals throughout the winter months when the temperature goes well below zero degrees. According to Tom Scherer, North Dakota State University Extension Service agricultural engineer for water quality and irrigation, the problem is exacerbated by a lack of snow cover, dry soil conditions, and extremely low air temperatures for a sustained period of time.
“Most of the possible freezing difficulties may be avoided now with a small amount of work.
” Snow that has recently fallen is a great insulator.
Although the insulating ability of snow decreases as it becomes compacted, any accumulation of more than 12 inches will give sufficient frost protection, according to Scherer.
When there is minimal snow covering bare soil or mowed areas, frost can penetrate deep into the earth. A typical septic system is comprised of four major components, each of which is susceptible to freezing problems:
- It is the conduit that runs from your residence to your septic tank. The septic tank and, in some cases, a pump lift station are required. This is the conduit that connects the septic tank to the soil treatment system (also known as the drainfield). The system for treating the soil
The point at which the pipe from the house to the septic system leaves the basement wall is a regular source of concern for homeowners. The wind frequently prevents snow from forming exactly near to the north and west sides of the house, enabling frost to penetrate deeper into those places. If the main sewer line from the house is located on the north or west sides of the house, water fixtures that produce continuous but low flow rates, such as dripping faucets, high-efficiency furnaces, and leaking toilets, will freeze where the pipe exits the basement wall where the pipe leaves the basement wall.
In addition, when homeowners undertake some landscaping and remove dirt above the house sewage line, they may have this difficulty.
“Second, install at least a foot thick and at least 5 feet wide of some form of insulating material (hay, straw, bags of leaves, etc.) over the sewer line exit point and shovel snow over the area or construct a snow fence in the region to trap snow.” The heat that water contains makes it resistant to freezing, thus even in the worst conditions, septic tanks seldom freeze when they are used on a daily basis.
- When the home is unoccupied for a week or more, water does not enter the tank to keep it warm, and the tank may freeze as a result of the lack of water.
- Using a snow barrier to keep snow from accumulating over the tank can also be beneficial.
- Another issue that may contribute to freezing in this pipe is a lack of slope, which results in poor water movement as a result.
- A layer of insulation placed over these crucial areas will almost certainly prevent freezing problems.
- It is common for the pipe to sag immediately adjacent to the septic tank as a result of the earth settling around the tank after it was constructed.
- This condition suggests that the effluent is not infiltrating adequately, and you may also have additional issues with the drainfield as a result of this.
- The remedy may be straightforward and affordable, or it may be complex and necessitate major rehabilitation of the drainfield.
- In most cases, a strong insulating layer applied over all bare soil will prevent a frozen system from forming.
- During the winter, avoid driving any vehicles over any section of the septic system, including ATVs, snowmobiles, and automobiles, because compacted snow does not provide nearly the same level of insulation that undisturbed snow does.
As Scherer warns, “if we do receive a decent coating of snow, don’t go carried away while plowing and remove snow cover from any section of the septic system,” he should exercise caution. Agriculture Communication at North Dakota State University
|Source:||Tom Scherer, (701) 231-7239,[email protected]|
|Editor:||Ellen Crawford, (701) 231-5391,[email protected]|
Do Septic Tanks Freeze? How to Fix a Frozen Septic Tank
When the weather turns chilly, septic systems might be put at risk. Heating your home throughout the winter months has little effect on your septic tank, which is hidden from view. Underground sewage lines are particularly vulnerable to freezing, however the tank and drain field can also become iced over if the proper safeguards are not followed. A frozen septic tank can result in fractured pipes and the need for expensive repairs. As a result, following septic tank maintenance ideas may be of assistance in extending the life of your septic tank.
How can You Tell if Your Septic Tank is Frozen?
The inability of your toilet, sink, or shower to work properly is a solid indicator that your septic tank is frozen. A backup occurs when the incoming liquid has nowhere to go as a result of the freezing of the water in the pipes. Flooding and cracking are two of the most severe consequences of this. It is important to contact a professional as soon as possible if you discover that your water is not draining correctly. If you discover that your septic system has become frozen, it is critical that you move quickly to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
How Can You Prevent a Frozen Septic Tank?
Maintaining adequate ground depth for your pipes is the most crucial thing you can do to protect them from freezing in the winter. To prevent frost from entering and inflicting long-term damage to your septic system, it is recommended that septic pipes be installed 18-24 inches deep in most cases. Of course, if your home has already been constructed, your pipes have already been installed; therefore, this recommendation is only applicable to newly constructed residences. Take into consideration the following suggestions for avoiding your septic tank from freezing, no matter where your pipes are located in your yard.
Protect your tank with mulch.
Covering the position of the septic tank with a layer of mulch will help to keep it from freezing. Please do not shovel snow away from the drainfield or tank if it snows during the winter. Extra insulation is provided by these layers, which prevent harsh elements from penetrating too far into the earth and damaging the pipes. Keep an eye out for leaks. In cold weather, drippy faucets, toilets, pipes, and other plumbing fixtures connecting the home to the tank may ultimately freeze, resulting in backups and pipe bursts.
What Can Be Done to Fix Frozen Septic Tanks?
Using a layer of mulch, you may keep the area around the septic tank from freezing. Please do not shovel snow away from the drainfield or tank if it snows during this time. Extra insulation is provided by these layers, which prevent harsh elements from penetrating too far into the earth and damaging the pipes below ground. Make sure there aren’t too many leaks. Drainage lines from the home to the tank that are dripping with water might ultimately freeze in cold weather, resulting in backups and pipe bursts.
DO NOT …
- Run water through the pipes in the hopes of melting the ice that has formed. This will simply result in additional ice, which will exacerbate the situation. Salt or any other additions should be used in an attempt to melt the ice. Try to dig up or ignite a fire near the septic tank to see how far you can get.
If your septic system has been affected by the cold weather, the best course of action is to contact an expert.
In many circumstances, specialized plumbers can assess the problem, defrost your pipes, and remedy the situation with little complications. Enlisting the assistance of a professional who is well-versed in their field may save you time, money, and problems.
who should you call for septic issues?
Septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services are provided by Norway Septic Inc., a service-oriented company devoted to delivering outstanding septic tank cleaning and septic tank pumping services to households and business owners throughout the Michiana area. “We take great delight in finishing the task that others have left unfinished.” “They pump, we clean!” says our company’s motto. If you believe that your septic system is having troubles, or if you require septic replacement components such as septic filters, please contact us right once.
Our affiliate connections to these items generate a small profit for us if you decide to purchase them via our links.
Frozen Septic Tank: Watch out for These Symptoms
When dealing with hard winters and having a septic tank, it is important to be aware of the possibility of a frozen septic tank when the temperatures drop below freezing. If you’re having this difficulty for the first time and aren’t sure whether or not the weather is to blame, there are a few tell-tale indications that may help you unravel the puzzle of why it’s happening. The Signs and Symptoms of a Frozen Septic System
- The first stop is the restroom. When a toilet system becomes frozen, the toilet’s functioning is lost, and the toilet will not flush. Obviously, this is an issue, as none of the sinks in the house are capable of removing water efficiently. This includes the bathroom, the kitchen, and any sinks you may have in the garage or other outbuilding. When you have a frozen septic tank, the drains are effectively “clogged” with ice, and the washing machine water line will not function as intended. No water will be able to drain from the bathtub or shower (or from the sinks)
Situations that might result in a frozen septic tank include: While the following are not symptoms of a frozen system, they are some of the factors that contribute to the manifestation of the symptoms described above. Check the area around your sewage system to ensure that it is not frozen, which can lead to septic tanks failing.
- Homes with a septic system line in the ground that is too shallow will experience freezing conditions. if the septic line is located above or too close to the ground’s frost level, expect freezing temperatures
- It is possible for frozen ground to form around a septic line if the earth is compacted, since this specific soil type allows freezing temperatures to penetrate deeper into the ground. If your line is located in this zone, it is more susceptible to freezing. Septic systems must be insulated in order to protect the lines from freezing. Grass, foliage, and snow, among other things, can act as insulation. An insulated line has a greater chance of staying warm and is more suited to dealing with cold conditions. The likelihood of a failure septic system increases when the insulation is very thin or non-existent. As a result of the daily usage of the septic system while you are in residence, the septic line becomes “heated.” It is possible that your house is a vacation or second home, and no one is in residence, that the system will freeze due to a lack of or occasional use, as well as another reason for the system to freeze. It is possible to accumulate ice if there is a constant stream of water feeding the line (for example, due to a leaking faucet or condensation from a furnace draining into the system). Due to the inability of water to depart the line due to improper pitching or routing, a septic line that goes through low regions may freeze.
Hire a professional plumber to defrost your septic system if it becomes frozen due to extreme cold or extreme heat conditions. A professional has the necessary expertise, tools, information, and know-how to diagnose and resolve the problem in a safe and efficient way. Make touch with The Pink Plumber right away if you have any inquiries! Image courtesy of Flickr OUR EXPERT PLUMBERS ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP YOU.
Preventing Septic Issues During the Winter
While you are huddled inside your house, trying to remain warm during the severe winter months, your septic system may be struggling to keep up with the extreme cold. Septic systems are built to withstand extreme temperatures, but if they are not properly maintained and protected, they may be damaged by freezing temperatures. Septic problems can be avoided throughout the cold months if your system is properly protected. Here are some precautions you can take to keep your system protected throughout the winter months, as well as what to do if you experience problems as a result of cold temperatures or freezing temperatures.
How to Protect Your Septic System During the Winter
There is always the potential that your septic system will freeze if the temps drop below the freezing point.
The pipes that run from your home to your septic tank, in particular, are particularly vulnerable to freezing. It is also possible for the tank, drainfield, and pipelines leading to the drainfield to freeze.
Winterize Your Plumbing Pipes
If you do not intend to remain in your home during the winter, it is advisable to winterize your pipes in order to prevent them from freezing and break throughout the season. Emptying the water heater and draining all of the water from the pipes constitutes this procedure. It is common practice for some homeowners to add antifreeze to their systems; however, doing so is not suggested for those who have a septic system since it will harm the microorganisms in the tank.
Avoid Compacted Snow
While snow may function as an excellent insulator for the pipes that link your septic system to your home, you must take care to ensure that the snow does not become compacted. It is necessary for the survival of microorganisms in your septic tank that they have access to pore space, which allows water and air to flow freely among the materials in the tank. When the earth around your septic system becomes compacted, there is no area for air and water to travel through. If the snow becomes compacted on top of the system, it might cause ice to sink deeper into the tank, causing it to become unable to function.
In the event that there isn’t enough snow to offer adequate insulation for your system, you may have to add additional insulation yourself. Straw, leaves, mulch, or hay can be used to add additional insulation to your home. The addition of insulation materials to external pipes is possible; nevertheless, it is recommended that a skilled expert perform this task. You might end up with loosened pipes or damage to your plumbing system if you do this yourself. Expert plumbers, like as our team at Peak Sewer, are committed to putting in place preventative measures in order to avoid problems in the first place.
Contact us for more information.
Fix Leaky Faucetsand Toilets
However, while it is generally advised that you let a trickle stream of water to run from your taps to prevent freezing, allowing leaks to continue in your house can result in problems with your septic system as well. As a result of these leaks, water will be able to enter the septic system, making it difficult for bacteria to replenish themselves in the septic tank. If there aren’t enough bacteria in the tank to break down waste, heat output will reduce, which might result in the tank being frozen.
How to Solve Septic System Problems in the Winter
We’d love to tell you that you can cure septic problems on your own throughout the winter, but the fact is that you should hire a professional to handle these difficulties for you instead. Make sure to avoid making the following blunders if you decide to take care of the situation yourself:
- Antifreeze and salt should not be used in the cooling system. As previously stated, this has the potential to severely impact the natural microorganisms in your septic tank. Fire should never be used to defrost the system
- This is just something we want to point out since someone somewhere has attempted it. It is not necessary to run water continuously to defrost the system. The fact is that, while this may be an effective preventative approach in certain circumstances, it will not solve the problem. Please do not flush hot water down the drain. A total blockage may result in the rupture of your pipes
- However, this is not always the case.
The only DIY that is risk-free is to heat the part of pipe that has been frozen.
This only works if you are able to get entry to the place in a safe manner. To thaw out the pipe, use a heat lamp or an electric heater to warm the air and melt any ice that has formed; otherwise, it is advised that you bring in the pros.
Call the Experts!
Technicians that are well-trained and educated have the equipment and abilities necessary to thaw frozen septic pipes and re-open your system. Professionals are the most qualified to assess the symptoms of your septic system and determine the root cause of the problem. They can discover the source of the freezing with the help of specific gear such as cameras, and they can assess what sort of repairs are necessary. Using heat tape and tank heaters, plumbers can assist your system maintain a consistent temperature even if it is not completely frozen.
Whatever the problem, the root cause of the freezing must be identified and corrected in order to avoid refreezing in the future.
Most importantly, you should not leave the health of your septic system to chance during the winter months.
If you’re ready to prepare your septic system for winter, or if you need assistance with a septic system problem, please contact us right now!
Can My Septic System Freeze? – Miller Septic Services
Despite the fact that the majority of sewage systems are buried deep enough underground to avoid freezing, there are several components of a septic system that can freeze, such as:
- The septic tank
- The pipes that connect your home to the septic tank
- The pipes that connect your septic tank to the drainfield
- It is the drainfield.
What Causes A Septic System to Freeze?
When the septic line isn’t buried deep enough in the earth to avoid freezing, or when compacted dirt is covering the septic line, your system is at risk of bursting and freezing. Those pipes that run from your home to your septic tank are the most prone to become clogged. The source of the problem might be a leak in one of your water fixtures in your house, such as faucets or toilets. The leak allows for a sluggish, continuous flow of water through pipes, which causes the pipes to freeze and get clogged.
When the weather is exceptionally cold, make sure to run your system many times a day, especially if the water temperature is warmer, to keep the water flowing (do not OVERUSE and place unnecessary stress on the system though).
How Do I Know If My Septic System is Frozen?
If you experience any of the following difficulties with your day-to-day plumbing, your system may be frozen:
- Toilet is not flushing properly
- There is a blockage in the drains of the sinks, showers, and baths.
How Do I Avoid a Frozen Septic System?
Try any of these suggestions to keep your system from being frozen:
- Before winter sets in, cover the space above your pipes, tank, and soil treatment system with mulch or other materials such as hay or leaves to keep the cold air out. Plan to run a hot water laundry load or take a warm shower every day to stagger your hot water consumption. Allowing anything or anybody to walk or drive over your system might cause compacted snow and dirt to force frost deeper into the ground at a quicker pace, causing it to fail sooner. Pipes should be insulated. In the event that you have an outfall or discharge, try to keep it free of obstructions in order to ensure that any effluent water generated has the best opportunity of getting away efficiently.
What Should I Do If I Think My Septic System is Frozen?
We do not advocate that you attempt to unfreeze your septic system on your own. A professional septic service such as Miller Septic can inspect your system and determine the source of the problem.
The use of specialized cameras allows us to check lines and identify the source of the problem. To securely clear frozen pipes, we employ professional-grade equipment such as hydro jetters.
About Miller Septic
Miller Septic is a locally owned firm that provides septic cleaning services for both residential and commercial properties. We have more than 30 years of expertise in serving the requirements of residents and companies in Northeast Ohio and surrounding areas. Pumping septic tanks, identifying septic tanks, offering point of sale inspections, cleaning grease traps and catch basins, transporting municipal sludge, providing leach line rejuvenation, hydro excavation, and many more services are available.
Make contact with us right away if you need your septic tank pumped.
Thaw Frozen Septic Line
Household septic systems perform admirably well, even under the most extreme weather conditions. Septic lines and holding tanks, on the other hand, can freeze if the correct conditions exist. Is it possible for septic systems to freeze when the “proper” circumstances are present? Water that remains stationary at sub-freezing temperatures. The thermal protection provided by a subterranean system, as well as the flushing and warming actions of frequent use, prevent ice development in the majority of septic systems.
- In our particular scenario, our system was doomed to failure.
- Our comparatively short septic line, which did not have the luxury of snow to keep it warm, was almost likely over the frost line and cold enough to form ice.
- The system was chilly, and all that was required for it to generate ice was motionless water.
- The furnace, to be precise.
- Our septic line quickly became clogged with ice as a result of the continual supply of low-flow water that was introduced to our cold system.
- Keep the system warm and avoid introducing low-flow continuous water sources into the system, to put it simply.
Septic Systems Freeze For Many Reasons
- Insufficient depth of the septic line – the line was built above or too close to the frost line. Below compacted soil (driveways, walks), a septic line should be installed since compacted soils tend to freeze deeper. Snow cover is insufficient or compacted, resulting in a reduction in the insulating effect of snow. There is a lack of vegetation or grass cover, which is important since vegetation functions as a soil insulator. a lack of or inadequate heat being provided to the system as a result of its occasional usage
Risks factors for a frozen septic system – things that allow ice to form
- Infrequent system usage – system use flushes pipes and contributes heat to the system
- Infrequent system use The use of a continuous low volume water supply (such as furnace condensation drainage or a leaking faucet) allows for the accumulation of ice without the advantage of a flushing mechanism. a septic line that is improperly pitched or has low areas in the line’s trip allows water to not entirely depart the septic pipe, allowing it to freeze
There are a variety of reasons that might contribute to ice development in septic systems. Each of these factors must be taken into consideration and handled in order to prevent future freeze ups. However, before we can begin to solve the issues, we must first de-ice the frozen septic line and re-open the entire system. Prior to addressing the issues, you will need to melt any ice that has formed in your lines and re-open the system, which will take some time.
Your septic line is frozen, now what? Easy; thaw it out!
To repair a frozen septic system, you will need to defrost the ice that has formed and is preventing the system or line from functioning properly. This is something I accomplished myself, and it is certainly something you can do as well. Before you get started, you should definitely consider contacting a professional that specializes in defrosting frozen septic systems to assist you. When my machine stopped for the first time, I did just that. The problem was resolved in 15 minutes for a total cost of $250.
If the prospect of being clean and toasty in your own house while someone else takes care of the repair appeals to you, put down the book and pick up the phone right now.
You may even be able to enhance your septic system and avoid future freeze ups as a result of your efforts. For those still on board and willing to take the initiative, get yourself some pretty old clothing and continue reading.
OVERVIEW | Thaw a frozen septic line
SUPPLIES LIST | Thaw a frozen septic line
Many systems include two access covers (one for the major or “solid” compartment and another for the secondary or “liquid” compartment), with the primary compartment being the more common. We’re looking for the cover that protects the area where the septic line from the house enters the holding tank (see photo) (typically the cover closest to the house).
It is frequently necessary to use a pry bar or a crow bar to raise the concrete cover from the frozen ground in this situation. If the ground is frozen, spend some time to trench out the earth near to the lid if you have the opportunity.
To prevent the hose from spinning while it is running through the septic system, use a brass nozzle on the garden hose (Thanks to Nancy for the great tip). The length of the nozzle should be more than the diameter of the pipe (which is normally 4 inches in diameter). If you are utilizing hot supply water, keep in mind that the garden hose may soften, making it harder to move the hose farther. PEX tubing can be used in place of garden hose if you want to utilize hot water during the installation.
(Many thanks to David for the suggestion!)
In an ideal situation, you would choose a source that was isolated from your residential water supply, so that you could be certain that nothing from the septic systems contaminated your drinking water supply. Unfortunately, this may not be a viable choice in the short term. The usage of a hose faucet or a utility faucet that draws water from your house should be done with caution since any water that backflows into your domestic water supply might cause a health risk to you or your family. I attached a hose fitting from my utility room to my hot water pipe, which worked well.
Although hot water is not required, it will help to expedite the process of eliminating the ice blockage.
The majority of PVC drain and sewage pipe is certified for temperatures up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many will be equipped with a “T” baffle and will enter the tank from the side closest to the home (supply). Having located the line, you will need to insert the hose into the septic system with the nozzle first, so that it is facing the obstruction (heading back to the house). It may be necessary to bend the hose slightly in order to get the nozzle into the septic pipe (I used a 6′′ nozzle and had to bend the hose slightly in order to get it in past the baffle.)
Attempt to feed the hose into the pipe until it meets with resistance (this should be the ice blockage). The nozzle will now be aimed straight towards the ice, causing it to melt. As the ice melts, you will be able to advance the hose further and farther until the ice has completely melted and you have passed past the obstacle. It should be quite evident when the ice has removed, depending on the volume of waste water in the septic line that was behind the obstruction in the first place. I experienced a significant increase in the volume of water returning to the septic tank, and the water became soapy with white suds.
You can remove the hose (keep the water turned on until you are out of the septic line to prevent backflow) and have someone in the home run some water (with soap if it will help you identify the water) while you watch for waste water to flow into the septic tank.
It is preferable to remove the hose before shutting off the water supply in order to avoid backflow into the hose. Replacing the septic cover and cleaning your tools and garden hose are important steps.To clean the outside of the garden hose, I ran it through a handful of Chlorox disinfecting wipes several times, finishing by pulling it through damp paper towels.To sterilize the entire hose, soak it in a dilute (1:50) bleech in water solution made by diluting 1/3 cup of bleech in 1 gallon of water.
You should try to determine the underlying reason of your system’s freeze and make any necessary repairs after you have successfully thawed the frozen line. There are several wonderful resources accessible on the internet, and I have included a few of them here. See the following articles for further information on preventing a frozen septic system:
- Using a large-capacity furnace condensate tank and pump system, it is possible to prevent septic line freezing caused by high-efficiency furnace condensate drainage. installing a Septic Heater to prevent ice formation in your septic system
IMAGE GALLERY | Thaw a frozen septic line
Using a high-capacity furnace condensate tank and pump system, it is possible to prevent septic line freezing caused by high-efficiency furnace condensate drainage. installing a Septic Heater to prevent ice formation in your septic system
FOLLOW UP | Thaw a frozen septic line
- Make certain that there is appropriate natural insulation over the pipe line
- Do not remove or compact snow over septic area (do not drive over or plow over septic system)
- Snow has an r-value of 1 or more per inch of snow (12′′ of snow = R-12+)
- Do not remove or compact snow over septic area (do not drive over or plow over septic system)
- Adding a layer of straw (R-1.5 per inch) or wood mulch (R-1 per inch) over the pipe run and other portions of the septic system, as well as planting grass and other vegetation in bare ground areas over the septic system, will help to reduce the amount of water that gets into the system. Add a layer or two of foam board insulation (polystyrene has an R-5 rating per inch of thickness)
- Avoid compacting earth over a septic line with heavy machinery (cars, ATVs, etc.), as compacted ground freezes more deeply. Insulate the area around and over the septic system or line. Rigid foam insulation between 2 and 4 inches thick should be installed around septic lines and over the holding tank, with overlapping edges (polystyrene is R-5 per inch). To keep the soil in place, use water softener salt bags, sand bags, or bags of landscaping pebbles. Continuous, low-flow water sources that discharge into the septic system should be repaired or avoided
- Fix any dripping faucets or fittings. Options for emptying furnace condensation water should be considered. During the colder months, operate the system on a regular basis
- Constant usage will flush the system and contribute heat to the system. Usage the system on a regular basis throughout the colder months
- Regular use will flush the system and contribute heat to the system. Normal bacterial activity creates heat in the holding tank. Biological activity in the holding tank creates heat in its normal course
Preventing and resolving frozen septic tank problems in winter
The freezing temperatures of winter pose a serious threat to the septic system and plumbing of a residential property. Inadequate preparation for winterization of your septic system might result in freezing. Aside from the cold temperature, there are a number of other elements that contribute to frozen septic tank issues throughout the winter months. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of these variables, as well as what you can do to avoid or recover from a frozen septic tank situation.
The main causes of frozen septic tank problems in winter
Because of the lack of snow covering the tank, the tank will not be adequately insulated against the cold. The tank and drainfield sections are protected from the elements by a layer of snow. During the chilly winter months, this insulation is critical because it aids in the retention of the geothermal heat of the soil layers as well as the heat from the septic tank. If your septic tank does not have this snow cover, frost will penetrate deeper into the earth, increasing the likelihood of the tank freezing.
Compacted soil/ snow
A healthy soil is normally composed of one part organic matter and mineral particles and one part pore space, with one part organic matter and mineral particles and one part pore space. Pore space is the space that allows water and air to move freely through biological matter and mineral structures. This creates an ideal environment for bacteria to live in and reproduce. When soil is compacted, on the other hand, the particles are packed together so firmly that there is simply no space for air and water to travel freely through.
The compacting of soil or snow during the winter months can lead the frost to sink deeper into the earth, which can result in the formation of a frozen septic tank.
The action of anaerobic bacteria digesting organic waste contributes to the preservation of the septic tank’s temperature. This explains why it is critical to maintain regular usage of the septic system during the winter months. It is possible that your house or cabin may be empty for a lengthy period of time during the winter, resulting in the septic system not receiving wastewater and resulting in septic tank difficulties throughout the winter. Similarly, if there will only be one or two persons in the house throughout the winter, this may be the case.
No plant cover
If your septic system has been in place for at least a year, it is likely that you have grown grass over it. For those that built a new septic system late in the fall, there is a strong probability that winter will arrive before your grass has a chance to sprout. In addition to providing insulation during the winter, vegetation cover also aids in the retention of snow, which means that a lack of vegetation cover may result in the septic tank freezing.
Leaking showers and fixtures
In addition to squandering lots of water, a leaking fixture can cause further difficulties with the septic tank over the winter months. It is possible that a shower or one of the fixtures has a leak, causing trickles of water to drain into the septic system. Generally speaking, wastewater from the house contains bacteria, which is beneficial to the septic system. Clean water, on the other hand, does not aid in the replenishment of bacteria in the septic tank. This clean water will produce hydraulic overload and will slow the pace at which microorganisms decompose organic waste, both of which are detrimental.
Additionally, because the trickling water is not moving quickly enough, it has the potential to freeze in the pipes.
A very high probability exists that water that was seeping out of a mound on the side of your septic system will freeze in the cold of winter, effectively preventing any more effluent from passing through. If your septic system appeared waterlogged in the fall, there is a very high probability that the water that was seeping out of the side of your septic system will freeze in the cold of winter, effectively preventing any more effluent from passing through. Make use of biological additives to thoroughly clean out the septic system before winter sets in to avoid this problem.
These biological additions infiltrate the septic system and bring billions of bacteria and enzymes into the system. They digest the organic waste that has accumulated in the tank, which assists in the unclogging of the entire system.
Maintenance tips to avoid frozen septic tank problems in winter
A very high probability exists that water that was seeping out of a mound on the side of your septic system will freeze in the cold of the winter, preventing any more effluent from passing through. If your septic system appeared waterlogged in the fall, there is a very high probability that the water that was seeping out of the side of your septic system will freeze in the cold of the winter. Make use of biological additives to thoroughly clean up your septic system before winter arrives. There are billions of bacteria and enzymes in the septic system as a result of the use of biological additives.
Winterizing plumbing pipes
This procedure involves prepping your plumbing pipes for the intense cold of winter in order to avoid your pipes from bursting when the water freezes in the pipes, expanding and causing them to rupture. The winterization of your home is a critical maintenance step if your home will not be occupied during the winter months. The procedure of winterizing requires draining all water from all pipes and emptying the water heater, among other things. Antifreeze solutions are also commonly used for winterizing plumbing fixtures; however, if you have a septic tank, you should avoid using antifreeze since it will impair the function of the bacteria in your septic tank and cause it to fail.
- Close the water valve and then turn off the water heater and the water pump to complete the shutoff. Because it helps to safeguard heating elements when there is no more water in the tank, this is a crucial step to do. Open all of the faucets and drain valves in your home. Make use of a checklist to guarantee that all of them are accessible. It is critical to have all taps open since a closed tap might produce a vacuum, which can cause water to become trapped in the pipes. In order to ensure that all valves and taps stay open during the winter season, To remove any surplus water from the pipes, use an air compressor to blast it out. To empty the hot water tank, open the drain valve and allow the water to run out until the tank is entirely emptied. Because some hot water tanks do not have floor drains, you may need to attach a garden hose to drain the water from the tank. Drain all of the water in the holding tank, paying particular attention to any water that may be trapped in the rubber diaphragm. Flush your toilets and use a sponge to dry off any water that may have accumulated in the toilet tank after flushing
Avoid snow compaction
Winter septic tank difficulties can arise as a result of snow compaction, as we have already demonstrated. Snow covering your septic tank is necessary, but it should not be compacted. Avoid walking, driving, or pushing heavy things or machinery over the septic tank since any external pressure can condense the snow on top of the septic tank and cause it to overflow. It is also not recommended to build any construction over the septic tank for the same reasons as above.
Inspect the system
It is recommended that you examine the system soon before the winter season begins. The primary goal of this examination is to determine whether or not there are any defects in the system under consideration. Make a visual inspection for cracks or other associated issues, and make sure the septic tank is not overflowing. Make a visual inspection of the drainfield area to ensure that there is no surface effluent or spongy soil present. Detecting a malfunctioning system manually is not always straightforward; thus, a more scientific technique may be necessary at times.
You flush the pills down the toilet, wait a couple of hours, and if the green dye is still visible on the lawn the next day, your septic system has failed or is on the verge of collapsing.
Fortunately, you may solve such an issue by including septic-safe biological agents into the mix. These additions will bring billions of bacteria and enzymes into the system, and they will eventually clean out the system by digesting the organic waste that has accumulated inside.
Pump the septic system
If your septic tank is nearing the end of its life cycle, arrange a pumping right before winter. If the tank becomes full during the winter, pumping it will be a time-consuming task, and businesses who do tank pumping during the winter will charge you more for the inconvenience. Pumping the septic tank may also be beneficial in preventing the tank from freezing if you will be absent from the house for the entirety of the winter season. Using biological additives, on the other hand, is a good idea before pumping the tank since, in most situations, this will solve the problem.
It is possible to provide some more insulation to the tank and pipes by covering them with a 12-inch layer of straw, leaves, hay, or any other type of mulch material. This is especially important if your septic tank has only recently been placed and there is no vegetation covering the tank. Allowing the grass to grow somewhat taller over the septic tank and leachfield should be adequate to trap snow for insulating purposes during the winter months. You should not use mulch as insulation if your tank is already frozen, since the mulch may interfere with the thawing process when the temperatures rise a few degrees.
Consider consulting with a trained plumber to determine the most effective way to go about this without dislodging pipes or causing damage to your plumbing system.
It is not an easy effort to recover from septic tank troubles during the winter months. A tank pumping business, for example, would have to worry about driving to your home in the snow and then plowing around to find where the tank is located on your property before they can begin pumping a tank in the winter months. Then there’s the risk of discovering a frozen septic tank, which further complicates the situation. This is why it is important to take the time to prepare your plumbing and septic tank for the winter months ahead.