Climate Change Is Causing Septic Tanks To Freeze

septic tank frozen

With current climate change and temperatures reaching extremes across the country, it comes as no surprise that residents of states with harsh winters are experiencing freezing septic systems. Frozen septic tanks can be a costly repair, and more often than not, they can affect your everyday life until maintenance is performed. Unfortunately, harsh temperatures and external circumstances can prevent maintenance from occurring immediately. Let’s talk about everything you need to know about freezing septic systems and how to prevent it from happening to you.


What causes septic tanks to freeze?

These unusual freezes are caused by a combination of extremely cold temperatures and a lack of snowfall. Snow acts as insulation against freezing temperatures for septic systems in the winter. Without that snow, septic systems are left to face harsh conditions with little protection.


why are septic tanks freezing


Why is it an issue?

As the planet experiences climate change, temperatures and weather patterns shift. The lack of snow and increasing harsh winters means that the frost line – or the maximum depth where soil freezes – is much deeper in the ground, often below septic pipes and systems.

Another common issue many face is the lack of access to maintenance trucks. For example, Minnesota experienced a harsh winter in 2018 and saw quite a few frozen septic tanks. When people began to call septic companies to help get their systems running again, the companies were unable to send their maintenance trucks due to a weight restriction placed on the roads in the winter months. This lack of access meant that those affected had to find repair solutions to their frozen tanks themselves.


What can I do to prevent my septic tank from freezing?

To protect your septic tank from freezing, you’ll need to provide the insulation missing from the lack of snow. You can protect your system by covering it with 8-12 inches of mulch, leaves, hay, or other loose, non-compactable material. This will simulate the same protection that snow would provide.

After covering your system with that insulation, be sure to avoid compacting it; that is, avoid having people or animals step on it. If the materials become compacted, they no longer insulate your system.

Another way to prevent freezing is by running warm or hot water through your system once a day, whether that’s doing laundry, running a dishwasher, or putting other sizable amount of warm water through the pipes. This will keep the pipes warm and prevent freezing. However, note that running water constantly may not be an effective solution as it can overwhelm your system.


how to prevent frozen septic tank


If you are want some more help to prevent your septic tank from freezing, call in the experts at EcoSeptic! Give us a call and schedule a free phone consultation at (203) 293-0832 or schedule online today!


How To Know If Your Septic System Has Failed

How to tell if my septic system has failed

Failures in your home septic system can lead to costly repairs and extensive damage to your property and the environment in your local area. Many times, when septic systems fail or back-up, it can be too late to reverse the long term effects and damage that can occur to your home and the surrounding ecosystems and water tables. It’s crucial to the longevity of your system to keep up with routine maintenance and pumping schedules.


How do I tell if my septic system has failed?

  • Sewage backup on your home and property
  • Slow drains
  • Standing water near your septic system components
  • Foul odor near your septic tank
  • High nitrate levels in local water wells


septic system failure


Common Reasons For Your System To Fail

There are many reasons why septic systems fail – here are some of the causes we encounter most often:


Clogged Pipes

When this occurs, it can be a simple fix if caught early. A professional can “snake” the system to relieve it of any clogs or blockages. Common causes for clogged pipes include flushing non-biodegradable items down the drain or toilet or environmental damage such as roots or animals.


Clogged Outlet Baffle Or Effluent Filter

This failure occurs when the component funneling waste from your septic system to the drainfield is clogged or damaged. This can result in waste back up in your home or on your property. If you have an effluent filter, we recommend having it cleaned annually to keep this part of your system functioning properly.


Drainfield Failure

This is the most damaging and costly failure when it comes to your septic system and it occurs when your drainfield stops processing waste, either due to excess waste or an old system that can no longer process waste efficiently. Drainfield failures can cause your septic to back up into your home, flood your property with waste, and leach waste into surrounding areas. Many times if the drainfield has failed, it may not be salvageable, therefore, we recommend not allowing your system to get to this point.


Typically, septic system failures can be prevented by adhering to a routine maintenance schedule. We recommend having your system inspected annually and pumped every 2-3 years. If you are unsure of when the last time your system was inspected or pumped, call in the professionals! Give us a call at (203) 293-0832 or schedule online today!


Septic pumping in westport ct

For more information about septic system failures take a look here.