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If your home has a septic tank and you live in an area with harsh winters, you may already be familiar with this phenomenon. When your septic tank freezes, you may experience backflow of dirty water and sludge into your home.

Not only is dealing with a frozen septic system extremely inconvenient, but it can also lead to burst pipes and other costly repairs.

Why Does It Happen?

Septic tanks are prone to freezing when there is a significant temperature drop and there is not enough snow to insulate the ground. Since septic tanks are buried underground, the snow helps insulate them from freezing above-ground temperatures.

Other reasons that can cause the septic system to freeze are:
The septic tank is not buried deep enough for insulation. It should be placed at least 18 feet underground to prevent freezing.
Excessive use of water can overload the system, which can push frozen liquid into your pipes.
Not using warm water often enough throughout the winter can also lead to a frozen septic tank.

How Can I Tell If My Septic System Is Frozen?

Backflow is the most common sign of a frozen septic system. If you spot backflow in any of your sinks, bathtubs, or toilets, you may be dealing with a frozen septic system.

Other signs that your septic system may be frozen:
Your toilet won’t flush. Since the tubes are backed up with ice and sludge, you won’t be able to flush your toilets.
Sinks won’t drain. Just as with the toilets, your pipes are going to be backed up. This will prevent all of the sinks in your house from draining properly.
Your washing machine won’t work. Water will not be able to flow into your machine since the pipes will be clogged.

Let Professional Plumbers Deal With Frozen Septic Systems

If you suspect that you are dealing with a frozen septic system, you need to contact an experienced plumbing company that can help you.

A professional plumber will first assess the septic system to determine if freezing is the source of your water issues. After the evaluation, the plumber will recommend an appropriate treatment depending on the status of the septic system.

Professional plumbers have access to heating tools and techniques that can thaw your septic system. If the tank is completely frozen, there is a small chance that the system will not be able to work until it is thawed in the spring.

Regardless, you should contact a professional plumbing company that can help you assess your situation and give you treatment options. If it is an emergency, please call us for our emergency service plumbing to get help right away.

How To Prevent Your Septic System From Freezing

Although frozen septic systems can almost always be fixed, you should not let them freeze. Not only can they cause immediate disruption, but they can also lead to more costly repairs down the line.

Here are some tips to prevent your septic system from freezing:
Use mulch to protect your septic tank. You can place 8-12 inches of mulch above your tank to provide additional insulation from the cold.
Fix any leaky faucets in your home. Constant water use can lead to a saturated septic tank.
Use warm water frequently. If you’re going to be out of town, ask a friend or neighbor to use warm water in your home a few times a week to heat up the septic line.
Call a professional for septic line maintenance before winter. Making sure that your septic system is in top shape before the temperatures drop is a great way to prevent issues.

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