Freezing and Your Septic System: What You Need To Know To Avoid a Frozen Septic Tank


If you live in a part of the country that experiences freezing temperatures during the winter months, you need to be aware that the contents inside of your septic tank can freeze. When waste freezes, it expands, which can lead to your septic tank cracking. As such, measures should be taken to help prevent your septic tank from freezing. Here is information you need to know to avoid a frozen septic tank. 

How Freezing Can Be Prevented During Installation

When septic system installation is done, the installers can take steps to help insulate the tank, helping to keep it warmer during the winter months. There are two methods that are used to help insulate the tank. The first is placing crushed gravel or river rock around the tank to keep it warmer. The second is to use foamboard insulation around the tank. Foamboard insulation is costly and needs to be replaced faster than rock, so it should only be used in climates that have particularly rough winters. 

How To Prevent Freezing When Installing Landscaping above the Tank

Another way that you can help to prevent the waste inside of your septic system from freezing during the winter months is to take proper precautions when landscaping your yard. When you landscape your yard, you have to water it. And that water may flow through your grass or the root systems of plants and sit around the tank, causing the temperature of the tank to decrease. It is recommended that you place a layer of straw over the top of the tank, followed by a plastic tarp, and then followed by your landscaping, such as soil and grass. The straw insulates the tank, while the tarp prevents water from flowing directly on the tank or the surrounding rocks, soil or dirt. This helps to keep the tank as warm as possible. 

How To Prevent Freezing during the Winter Months

The last tip to help prevent your septic tank from freezing during the winter months is to keep it as full as possible and to use it often. You should avoid pumping your septic tank in the fall or winter, when possible. It takes longer for the contents of a nearly full tank to freeze compared to a nearly empty one. Additionally, using your plumbing fixtures regularly helps new water to flow into the tank, decreasing the chances of freezing. 

Septic system freezing can be prevented by properly insulating the tank during septic system installation, preventing water from sitting on it when landscaping your yard, and keeping the tank full and in use during the winter months. All these tips can help you avoid a costly crack occurring in the tank due to frozen waste. If you suspect your tank is leaking or notice waste in your yard when temperatures begin to heat up, call in a professional right away to assess the damage and determine if you do have a leak in your tank. 

About Me

new to owning a home with a septic system

When my husband approached me with the idea of moving out of the city, I was pretty excited. He told me that he had found the perfect house that was out in the country, so we went to check it out. A few months later, we closed on the house and began moving in. Since we were so used to city water and sewage, we had no idea why the yard would have become a swampy mess and smelled like raw sewage. After talking with the neighbor, we found out that there had been septic issues in the past and that we had to call a service. If you share a lack of knowledge about septic systems, our blog can help you learn what we learned the hard way.

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