You do not want your septic system to get frozen, so make sure you take the necessary steps to ensure that it doesn’t. The following cesspool maintenance tips will help prevent this rather common wintertime problem:
- Cover all risers, inspection pipes, manholes, etc. Sealing them and adding insulation will also work. Using insulated pipes or laying Styrofoam over the tank will serve to reinforce insulation. All these ideally should have been done during construction, especially if the cesspool or septic tank is less than two feet from the surface.
- Preventing cesspool troubles in the wintertime is really mostly about insulation, so place a layer of mulch, about eight to 12 inches thick, over pipes, tank, and soil treatment system. This will also work to better insulate the system. You could use leaves, hay, straw, and other loose material that will not firm up and stay put. This is especially necessary if your system was recently installed and no vegetative cover has yet to grow. If this isn’t the case, allowing your grass to grow longer in the later summer or fall will also help.
- If you sense that your system is beginning to freeze, use warm water. Normal water use is enough to help warm the system. Running a warm or hot laundry load, using your dishwasher, taking a hot bath—these activities can help prevent your septic system from freezing. Don’t go overboard, though. Leaving water running all the time is not only wasteful, but it will also hydraulically overload the system.
- Make sure that you keep any kind of traffic—vehicular or pedestrian—off of the system all throughout the year as you don’t want compacted soil or snow over it. Compacted snow will not insulate as well as loose snow, while compacted soil tends to freeze deeper. If traffic cannot be prevented, then make sure the components of the system are insulated.
- If you’re not going to be there to monitor the situation at your house, you need to plan accordingly. You need to pump out your tank before leaving or you may have to ask a neighbor or hire someone to come regularly to use sufficient quantities of water. If you can manage it, install a small condensate pump that holds and discharges two gallons per cycle. The goal is to prevent the sewage from getting very cold and freezing. If you return to the house before the temperature starts to rise, the effluent leaving the tank will be cold.
These cesspool maintenance tips for the cold season will help prevent freezing problems and all the trouble and inconvenience that they come with.
If you’re having any trouble, give us a call! 1-631-609-4546