Tips To Prepare Septic Systems For Winter

With fall underway, winter is just around the corner. If you have a septic system, this means special care should be taken to maintain optimal function. Freezing temperatures and moisture create a dangerous duo for septic tanks. Luckily, with early precaution and a few simple steps, you can help prevent damage.

Pump the Tank

Though regular pumping prevents buildup, it’s especially important before winter. Since lower temperatures make the ground difficult to penetrate, the process is made easier in the fall before freezing temperatures arrive.

Closely Examine Septic System Cover

You should have a map of your septic system’s location. Use it to find the tank and notice its covering. If you can’t find or don’t have this map, trace where the sewer line runs (from house to front yard), and the system should be in this vicinity (within 10-25 feet of your house).

For older systems, the lid will be concrete, for newer ones, fiberglass or polyethylene. Ensure the lid looks sturdy and in good shape, with no holes or cracks. If it looks rather worn, you should have it replaced before winter, since effective covering keeps dirt, wildlife and wayward children out of the tank.

Note: Once the installation company provides a new lid, make sure it fits snugly. If precipitation or excess moisture gets into the tank, it will damage its integrity.

Insulate the Drainage Field

As frozen ground (caused by freezing temperatures) can damage septic systems, maintaining an efficient drainage field is crucial for winter care.

The best way to do this is to layer mulch or straw (a few inches thick) over the area. This step adds a layer of insulation between the soil–with its wintry accouterments–and the septic tank. An insulation blanket can also be purchased and laid atop the drainage field to shelter it from frost and snow.

Note: Do not park vehicles on the drainage field, especially during winter, as further soil and snow compaction generate colder temperatures in the ground above the septic tank.

Watch the Water

Take a look at faucets and water fixtures and make low-flow a priority, as excess water use strains septic systems during colder months. It also helps to prevent other water sources (sump pumps, surface water, and downspouts) from coming too close to the system.

Seasonal maintenance creates healthy, long-lasting septic systems. For all your septic needs, remember to contact Express Septic Services at 864-303-0337.

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