Harsh winter weather and sub-zero temperatures are tough on your home's plumbing system, particularly if you have your own septic tank. Making sure you don't have problems during a deep freeze is imperative if you want your plumbing to stay in good working order throughout the cold spell and beyond. The following guide will help you understand the types of issues you can encounter.
Drain Field Damage
Extremely low temperatures can cause the drain field to freeze. While most short-term winter freezes won't damage a drain field in and of themselves, external damage to a drain field is more likely when it is frozen and less giving. The main concern is compaction of the field. Snowfall is the culprit here, since it covers the drain field and makes it harder to tell where it is located, which then makes it more likely that equipment or vehicles may accidentally drive onto it. Mark the perimeter of the drain field clearly with fluorescent snow poles in the fall if your field is in a location where it could be accidentally driven upon.
Generally, the microbial activity inside a septic tank will keep the tank itself from freezing, but the lines leading out to it could be in danger. Although pipes are usually buried well beneath the frost line, there are areas where they may approach the ground surface—such as where they enter your home. If you know you have exposed septic lines, make sure they are wrapped in an insulated blanket to prevent freezing. It's also important that you run water through the system daily to keep things from freezing up. If your tank is not buried deeply, perhaps due to shallow bedrock, you may need to install an insulating blanket over the tank to help protect it from sub-zero temperatures.
Best-case scenario is that your septic tank will not require any servicing until the snow melts, but in the event you do need service, it's imperative that access is clear. To do this, make sure you know where your tank's access port is. There are likely protruding vent pipes in the area. You can place an upturned box or plastic bin over the top of the access port to keep it clear of snow and ice. Weight it with a brick, if necessary, to keep it from blowing off. Do not cover the vent pipes, though. The must be kept clear for the tank to continue operating correctly. Plus, trapping the sewer gas can pose an explosion risk.
For more help, contact septic services like LP Murray in your area.