Prepare Your Septic System For FallSeptember 27, 2023
Expert Septic InstallationNovember 28, 2023
Minnesota’s cold winters can cause extra stress on septic systems, both commercial and residential. Cold weather can cause expensive damage to septic tanks and pipes. Preparing a septic system and performing regular maintenance is crucial in preventing winter-related complications. Here are some tips to help you deal with common winter septic issues.
Freezing Septic Tanks and Pipes
Problems with freezing can occur if frost or snow fall around a septic system. If the parts of the septic tank freeze, then the bacteria will be either unable or very slow to breakdown the waste. The system can become overloaded if the waste is not properly broken down. If wastewater is allowed in a frozen pipe, it could burst, posing a serious health risk.
You can avoid freezing pipes and tanks by covering your septic tank, especially during the night. The chances of the septic system freezing are reduced by using it daily to run water through it. Leaves, mulch, or plants can be used to cover pipes at the end of fall. This will add additional insulation.
Winter is a time of many holidays. It means more visitors, gatherings, and celebrations at home. Showers, laundry, cooking, and toilet usage can put a strain on your septic tank.
In addition, guests that are not familiar with the way septic tanks function may flush items down the toilet repeatedly, causing damage to your septic tank. To minimize the strain on your septic tank during winter, it is best to educate all guests about how to properly use the kitchen and bathroom sinks. This might feel uncomfortable at first, but it is much easier than having to deal with a damaged system.
Sudden Thaws of Frozen Water
When frozen water thaws, it can cause damage to your septic tank. Unexpected thawing of water can flood the drain field and prevent water from draining. Water could then travel through your pipes backwards and end up in your drains and toilets. Inundated drain fields can cause untreated sewage infiltration into groundwater, local bodies of water, and other nearby areas. It is not just bad for the homeowner but can also cause environmental contamination.
Snow and soil pressure on the Septic Tank
Snow that is light and fluffy might weigh about seven pounds per cubic feet. Compacted snow may weigh as much as 20 pounds per cubic foot. The weight of the snow combined with the soil can create several problems if the snow is pushed and packed around your septic tank. This can cause a frozen system, stop wastewater draining correctly, and put pressure on the tank and pipes, causing damage. Imagine that the area around your septic tanks is well-aerated prior to winter and that snow is cleared regularly from the top of the system. It is unlikely that it will be affected by winter damage.
Use the Septic Tank Too Little
It may surprise you to know that the bacteria in your tank keep your tank warm by digesting organic waste. It is good for your septic system to flush the toilet regularly, run the shower and use the sink in the kitchen to wash dishes and prepare food during winter.
The pipes are protected from freezing by running warm water often. The septic system is more likely frozen if it is not used regularly. If snowbirds leave their home unoccupied during winter to travel to warmer climates, they may find that the septic tank is damaged. Low levels of water and sewage flow through the system make it difficult for it to maintain temperature.
Cracks in water pipes
Drainage is likely to be incorrect if your septic tanks pipes are clogged, leaking or blocked. This can cause damage to the septic system and its surroundings. Your septic system is more likely to be damaged if your pipes are in bad shape.
Leaks in the winter can cause the system to freeze, which will further weaken it. Clogs can form and wastewater can accumulate in pipes. This will lead to further damage and contamination of the groundwater.
Our professionals at Bell Excavating/Bill Wolfe Excavating can fix leaky pipes before winter arrives. Clogs and leaks can be taken care of as soon as the problem is noticed, thus preventing it from becoming more serious.
How do you know if your septic tank is frozen?
In the winter, the water in lakes, rivers and on the surface of the ground freezes. Where you live will determine the frost line, which will determine how deep water can freeze. In places like northern Minnesota it can reach up to 100 inches, while the majority of the country is between 20 and fifty inches. A sudden, unseasonal freeze can push the frostline down to the point that it damages your septic tank.
Your septic system is at risk if it’s installed too close to surface. The lower temperature of the soil is more likely to cause your septic system to freeze if there is no snow as insulation.
The frozen septic system is a plumbing emergency which may require professional assistance. Sinks that won’t drain are one of the signs that your septic system could be frozen. The drains in your house will work properly as they are blocked with ice. In some cases, sewage may back up into your home.
Do not try to thaw your septic system yourself if it is frozen. Call Bell Excavating/Bill Wolfe Excavating for professional plumbers to thaw out your septic tank. We have the knowledge and tools to safely fix the problem.
Outstanding Septic Services
Bell Excavating/Bill Wolfe Excavating offers a variety of septic tanks services. Our team works quickly, professionally, and with a clean finish.
We offer septic tank pumping, septic installation, septic replacement, hydro-jetting, tank inspections and locating, preventative maintenance and enzyme treatment. We can help you if your septic system needs some attention. Call Bell Excavating/Bill Wolfe Excavating to receive the best results possible for your hard-earned dollars!