Winter in Stillwater Minnesota is a time to make our homes as cozy as possible so that we can enjoy them until spring. It is essential, however, not to disregard the exterior components of your home, especially the septic system. Winter temperatures are not immune to the effects of septic systems. Here is what you need to know about winter repairs and installations of septic systems.
Problems with Septic Systems in the Winter
There are a few unfortunate situations that can occur with your septic system during the winter:
• Leaking Pipes: Dripping faucets and leaking pipes can cause ice buildup, which can cause a pipe to burst.
• Drainage Issues: If your pipes are not draining properly, wastewater can collect and freeze, resulting in pipe damage.
• Freezing: In the end, snow or frost can enter your septic tank and cause damage due to cold winter weather.
How are winter repairs made to septic systems?
Repairing septic systems in the winter is significantly more difficult than at other times of year.
To repair or install a septic system during the winter, Bell Excavating/Bill Wolfe Excavating must adhere to the following procedure:
Dump Trucks and Hot Water
During the winter, the frozen ground is only about two feet deep. To dig down to your septic system, however, hot water must be used to soften the soil so that a backhoe can pull it up.
Even though it is possible to access your septic tank during the winter, repairs must be completed quickly so that the exposed ground does not freeze. If left uncovered, the soil will freeze, and the process will need to be repeated the following day if work is to continue.
The technicians must work as quickly as possible in order to repair or install a new septic tank.
The good news is that the work on your septic tank will likely be finished in a single day.
Pump, Repair, Replace
After exposing the septic tank, the technician will pump out the tank before performing any repairs or replacements.
With Warm Soil, Cover
After completing the work, the technician must rewarm the soil to properly cover the septic tank. The warm soil is then pushed into the hold using a front-end loader. In the spring, you can then replant grass over your septic tank.
How to Avoid Septic Problems During the Winter
Even though septic system repairs and installations are possible during the winter, there are ways to avoid septic problems during these months.
Conduct an Inspection in the Fall
Before the onset of winter, a thorough inspection of your septic system will reveal any defects or damage. A certified technician can search for cracks, inspect the drain field, and make sure the septic tank is not overflowing. Taking care of these issues in the fall will save you a great deal of trouble and stress during the winter in Minesota.
Schedule a Pump Inspection Before Winter
If your septic tank needs to be pumped, be sure to do so before winter. Otherwise, the task is more difficult, and some companies may charge you more during the colder months. Having your septic tank pumped prior to winter will also prevent the tank from freezing, especially if you plan to be away during the winter.
Winterize Your Pipes
Preparing your pipes for extreme cold will prevent them from bursting. This is particularly important if your home will be unoccupied during the winter months. If you will be away for the entire winter, be sure to completely drain your pipes. This requires turning off the water supply and running all faucets until they are clean. Maintains the faucets and drains open during your absence.
The pipes can also be insulated to prevent freezing and bursting. Simply wrap some fiberglass around the pipes to help them maintain temperatures as close to normal as possible. To avoid septic problems during the winter, you can always have a professional properly winterize your pipes.
Avoid Compaction of Snow
When heavy snow is pushed against the ground over the septic tank, snow compaction occurs. While snow can provide insulation for a septic tank, the additional external pressure of compacted snow can prevent wastewater from filtering and draining properly, as well as cause pressure that leads to freezing in the system.
Cover the tank with insulation
To properly insulate your tank and prevent freezing issues, you can cover the tank and pipes with a 12-inch layer of leaves or other mulch material. This is a crucial step, particularly if your tank is not insulated by grass or snow. This must be completed prior to the temperature dropping. If you place insulation on top of your septic tank after it has frozen, it can interfere with the spring thawing process.
Septic System Installations and Repairs
No one wants to deal with septic system problems during the winter, but Bell Excavating/Bill Wolfe Excavating is here to help!
Contact our technicians at Bell Excavating/Bill Wolfe Excavating for all of your septic repair, replacement, and maintenance needs if you experience septic problems during the winter.