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  • Jodi Eberhardt

Protect Your Septic System from Freezing

Updated: Dec 19, 2020

Common causes of septic system freezing during the winter can be lack of snow cover, extreme cold, compacted snow, irregular use of the system, leaking plumbing fixtures, pipes

not draining properly, or a water-logged system.

To prevent freezing, follow these general guidelines:

• Fix any leaking plumbing or appliances prior to winter.

• In the fall, leave the grass longer over the tank and drainfield for better insulation.

• Add a layer of hay or straw mulch (8-12 inches) over the pipes, tank, and soil treatment area.

• Keep ATVs and snowmobiles off the drainfield.

• Spread hot water use (laundry, showers, dishwasher) out over the day and week. If you’ll be gone for extended periods, consider having someone stop by to run hot water regularly.

• High efficiency furnaces, water softeners, and iron filters have the potential to cause problems in the winter because of slow and/or periodic discharges of


• Talk with a professional before installing heat tapes or tank heaters.

What to do if the system freezes? Unplug your pump and call a septic system professional. Do not add antifreeze, additives, or continuously run water to try to thaw the system.

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