Your septic tank withstands a great deal of stress and pressure normally throughout the year, but the weather conditions of the winter months represent a unique source of stress to your septic system. Cold temperatures can cause cracking and leaks to develop, and the added weight of snow and ice on top of the tank can also be a factor in physical damage. Understanding some of the simple things that you can do to prepare your septic system from damage during cold weather can help you avoid expensive and complicated septic tank repair services during the holiday season.
Inspection and Pumping
The first thing that you should do before the cold weather hits is to have a professional take a look at your septic system. Not every septic tank will need to be pumped, since size and amount of use can vary widely, but if your septic system is nearing full capacity, you should have it pumped before the cold weather hits. Cold weather means that it can be impossible or at least highly difficult to get to your septic system, since the ground will be frozen, so having all maintenance done early is a must.
One of the simplest, yet most effective things that you can do to protect your septic tank from cold weather damage is to lay down a layer of mulch over the top of your tank, as well as over the pipes leading to the tank from your home if you know where they are under the soil. Mulch will act as a layer of insulation, trapping heat and making it less likely that your tank and connected pipes will freeze and crack. A few inches of wood chips or even something as simple as straw can work wonders.
Leave it Covered
Once the snow has hit the ground, the best course of action that you can take to protect your septic system is to leave it alone. While this may seem counter-intuitive, the extra layer of snow (especially when combined with the mulch that you laid down) will act as an insulating barrier against the cold weather. However, if you're shoveling the area around your septic tank, make sure that you don't pile additional snow on top of it. the extra weight can contribute to cracking and other physical damage. The best course of action is to simply fence the area off to keep vehicles, plows, and snow away.