The good news is that septic tanks don’t often freeze. Normally, there’s enough going on in a septic tank to keep the tank contents from freezing. But that doesn’t mean winter can’t throw a curveball or two at your septic system. If the unthinkable does happen, here are some steps you can take to restore your system to good working order.
Handling winter septic problems
The most likely freeze candidate in a septic system isn’t really the tank itself, but rather the line that connects the plumbing to the septic tank. This can (and will) happen if the line isn’t buried very deeply. To help insulate the line, you can use materials like straw (which is a very good insulator), leaves or extra dirt. Pile these on top of the line to help keep water penetration down. A blanket of snow is also a good insulator. If your line is very shallow, you may want to dig it up and add insulation to it.
You can also insulate over your drop box and leach field. Observe your leach field throughout the summer for signs of saturation or oversaturation. Visible water in the leach field is a sign of obvious problems. Address these during the warmer months! Do not ignore them; they will not go away!
If the line between the house and the tank does freeze, the best way to open it is by hydrojetting. Hydrojetting will melt any blockages in the line and get the liquid flowing again. If the line has been frozen for a long time, or you don’t know how long the line has been frozen, have the pipe inspected for damage before returning it to service. Ice can exert enormous pressure on a pipe, so you want to be sure that your pipe hasn’t fractured before you use it. If the inspection reveals signs of damage, replace the pipe immediately.
One last note: don’t attempt to open a frozen line chemically. Salt and anti-freeze will harm the biological action of your tank and will damage the land around your septic field.
Hydrojetting is a great way to open a frozen pipe, but it’s also messy. It’s not a DIY project! Call us at Clear Drain Cleaning and we can hydrojet your line safely, and video inspect it for damage at the same time. If you would like more information about treating a frozen septic line or winter septic problems, please give us a call at Clear Drain Cleaning at (330) 343-7146 to schedule an appointment.