Tips For Protecting Your Septic Tank During Winter

According to Circle of Blue, approximately 21 million American homes feature a septic system. If you're not hooked up to the public sewer system and instead filter and house your home's waste in a septic tank, chances are you go to great lengths to ensure the system continues to run smoothly. However, no matter how hard you try to keep your septic system operational, there is a complication that is beyond your control: winter. Don't wind up with a septic emergency in the dead of winter, and instead, here are a few tips to help prepare your system for the big freeze:

Preparing Your Field for the Winter

Before the cold weather hits, it's important to prepare your septic tank and field for the coming months. Begin by scheduling an appointment to have your septic system inspected and the tank emptied. If there is any damage to the septic system, it's vital to have it repaired before winter.  

If you live in a climate where the winters are very cold, ask your technician about the benefits of a septic tank insulating blanket. The blanket is fitted over the septic tank and protects it from freezing temperatures. It's best to have the blanket fitted over the tank before the ground freezes. This ensures the warmer temperatures present in the soil become trapped around the tank, which helps keep it warmer, as well.

Finally, place a thick layer of mulch over the septic field before the first frost. The mulch will add a final layer of protection against the freezing temperatures. You can either purchase mulch at a local hardware store, or you can use the leaves and dried grass that are in your yard.

Protecting Your Septic Field During the Colder Months

The best way to protect your septic tank and field in the winter is to monitor it closely. As the temperatures begin to drop, you must ensure your septic system doesn't freeze. The best way to accomplish this is to periodically run hot water through the system. This can be accomplished by turning on the faucet and allowing hot water to run through your plumbing or by washing your laundry on a warm or hot setting.

Washing a single load of laundry on a warm or hot setting is a great way to prevent your septic system from freezing.

Additionally, it is important to protect the drain field during the winter months. The best way to accomplish this is to avoid allowing any person, animal, or vehicle from coming into contact with the field. When the snow covering the septic field is walked on or driven over, it becomes compacted, which in turn causes the ground to freeze even faster.

It is also vital to avoid shoveling the snow off of your drain field. The loose snow will act as a natural insulator, which will also help protect your system from freezing.

What If the System Freezes?  

Despite your best efforts, it is still possible for your septic system to freeze during the winter. If you suspect your septic system is damaged or has frozen, it is vital to contact a professional right away. Do not try to fix the issue yourself by simply running hot water through the system because you might wind up doing more damage than good.

A professional will have the tools and equipment necessary to repair your frozen septic tank and help you ensure it doesn't occur again.

Just like the plumbing throughout your home, your septic system is vulnerable to freezing during the colder winter months. Don't wait for the first snow to begin falling before you protect your septic system, and instead, contact a professional from a company like Rob's Septic Tanks Inc for assistance.