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 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.
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!