Winterizing Your Septic System Before The Freeze Sets In
Homeowners start to worry when the temperature drops ... “Are there things I need to do to get my septic system ready for winter?”
If the system was installed properly and everything is in good working order there is not a lot that needs to be done before winter arrives.
But, homeowners should consider and take action as necessary.
- If there is any maintenance of the system that has been put off, now is the time to have it done.
- If the septic tank needs pumping, it should be pumped. If there is a pump station in the system, now would be the time to have the pump tank checked for any solids
- And, the floats and pump should be evaluated to ensure they are in good working order
Prior to cold weather setting in, be sure to repair or replace any damaged riser lids, and recommend lid insulation. Also give the drain field area a once over inspection for surfacing or ponding, so it can be remedied before winter.
If you recently installed a new onsite system that lacks established vegetative cover, use straw over the area to help insulate the system. Remember, often the best insulation is provided by the soil itself and nearby growing vegetation. Vegetation captures and holds snow over the system. Ironically snow provides very good insulation.
For homes that will be used intermittently, homeowners should prepare to hold heat in so the system doesn’t freeze. If you’re installing a system at a seasonal home, make sure to insulate the septic tank to prevent freezing.
In very cold climates, installers insulate septic tanks and pump stations automatically due to the drastic drop in temperatures. This is based upon the length of time snow cover lasts and changing demographics (aging population that heads to a warmer climate for part of the winter) leaving homes with onsite systems left unattended for months.
For established systems that are not insulated, where the homeowner is leaving for the next three months, a temporary solution is to install a tank heater in the septic tank. Another suggestion is to have a neighbor, family member or friend use the system by running the washing machine or dishwasher once a week while they are away.
Be prepared and keep your septic system in prime working order this winter. POV Pat Dwight