Tracking Down Septic Problems

« Back to Home

Pumping Your Septic Tank During Winter? 3 Ways to Minimize the Risk of Damage

Posted on

While winter isn't the best time of year to have your septic tank pumped, you may have to do it in an emergency situation. If your septic tank is full and beginning to back up into your home, you don't have much choice. The problem with pumping your tank in winter is that it reduces the volume of water in the tank, and a reduced volume of water is more susceptible to freezing. If your septic tank freezes, it can cause quite a bit of damage that's expensive to fix.

Thankfully, there are a few ways you can prevent your septic system from becoming damaged if you have it pumped during the winter. If you need to pump your septic tank when the weather outside is freezing, here are three things you need to do in order to prevent accidental damage to your septic system.

1. Fill Your Septic Tank Up With Water Immediately After Pumping

If you're having your septic tank cleaned in winter, the most important thing you need to do is to fill it back up with water after it's pumped. When you have it pumped, ask the residential septic tank cleaning service how large your tank is. You'll need to measure out the water and pour it down a drain in your home in order to fill the tank back up. Don't worry about undoing the septic tank pumping—pumping is only meant for removing solids and grease from the tank, and septic tanks are designed to be full of water at all times.

The reason why this is important is that the small pipes in your drain field need to have water flowing through them in the winter. If there's no water flowing through the pipes, they can freeze and burst. Replacing drain field pipes is very expensive, so it's important to keep water flowing through your septic system in order to prevent them from freezing over.

2. Cover Your Septic Tank With Snow or Mulch

Most septic tanks have lids that are buried in the soil. Your septic tank service will likely have to dig through snow and frozen dirt in order to access the septic tank and pump it out. Once the septic tank has been pumped, make sure you replace the snow that was removed. If there's no snow on the ground, cover the septic tank with a few inches of mulch.

Snow acts as an insulator, which is why septic tanks rarely freeze in the winter. Replacing the snow will ensure that your septic tank remains warm to prevent any part from freezing. 

3. Run Hot Water Daily to Encourage Bacterial Growth

Another downside of having your tank pumped in the winter is that pumping your tank will remove most of the helpful bacteria inside the tank. The bacteria inside a septic tank help to break down waste, slowing down the rate at which your septic tank fills up. During cold weather, the bacteria become sluggish. They digest waste and reproduce less quickly.

In order to help them thrive, make sure you're using the hot water in your home at least twice a day. You can take hot showers or wash your clothes using warm water. This will warm up the water in your septic tank, aiding the growth of helpful bacteria.

While having your septic tank pumped in the winter isn't an ideal situation, you can do it successfully by following the three tips above. If your septic tank is full and needs to be pumped out, call a residential septic tank cleaning service in your area.