How Cold Weather Can Harm Your Septic System

December 3, 2021 3:31 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Wondering if the cold weather is bad for your septic system? In short, freezing temperatures can take a toll on essential septic components, causing major messes and headaches if you haven’t properly maintained the system. So, how does the cold weather affect your septic system? Read on to find out.

Harming essential bacteria

Most people erroneously believe that septic tanks are simply holding tanks, and that regular pumps remove the sewage. In fact, bacteria in the tank are always at work digesting the waste so carbon dioxide and water are all that’s left. Low temperatures can kill this helpful bacteria, causing waste to settle at the bottom of the tank as sludge, and sludge buildup leads to major problems quickly.

Snow and soil compaction

You need to keep traffic off the drain field area for the entire duration of the winter, otherwise you risk compacting snow and soil in the area. When compaction occurs, your tank’s insulation suffers, resulting in a frozen system. It’s recommended to aerate your soil before winter arrives and keep all traffic—including foot traffic as well as vehicles—off the drain field area.

Frozen pipes

Cold weather is bad for your entire septic system, including the pipes. As temperatures plunge, cold air freezes any fluids inside leaky pipes, causing damage and problems with drainage. In the case of complete clogs, wastewater will begin to accumulate and freeze from the cold temperatures. Deal with this issue before it occurs by fixing leaky and clogged pipes prior to winter.

Drain field saturation

Sometimes during the winter, temperatures can rise above thawing for a few days. While the relief from cold temperatures is welcome, it can actually have a negative effect on your septic system. When ice thaws quickly, the flow of the water can saturate the drain field. If the drain field just can’t keep up, the water can actually travel backward through your pipes and into the toilets and drains in your home or business. Clearly, this is a nasty mess that can be avoided with proactive septic tank maintenance.

Pumping difficulties

While pumping a septic tank can be done in the winter, it’s a lot harder to do. It’s much more of a challenge to dig through frozen ground in the yard to access the septic tank—that’s why it’s best to schedule an inspection and pumping appointment prior to freezing weather. Early pumping significantly decreases the likelihood of problems during the winter.

Preventing winter septic tank issues

Now that you know how cold weather affects your septic system, the first step in winterization involves a call to your local septic professionals. A pre-winter inspection and septic pumping, when necessary, can keep your system functioning its best throughout the winter and beyond. Reach out to the team at B.H. Cameron Septic Services LLC to schedule your inspection and enjoy peace of mind that your system is fully protected for the season, no matter how low temperatures go. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

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