Maintain Your Septic Tanks This Winter

If you have a septic tank in your backyard, you have probably been warned about the dangers of not maintaining your tank and having routine preventive maintenance performed.

If you have not had a routine inspection performed in the last 3 years, it is essential to call a professional to take a look and prepare you for the colder months.

While things can take a wrong turn at any time of the year, most issues seem to sprout during in the winter.

Just like the pipes and hoses laying on the ground outside your home, your septic tank and the pipes hidden beneath the surface are significantly affected by the cold as well.

There is a simple home-test that you can perform to check your septic tank before you spend money and have a professional sent out to do a more in-depth analysis.

Stand over one of the inspection pipes or manholes. Take a piece of white PVC pipe and lower it to the very bottom of the tank until it hits bottom.

If there is 12 inches or more of sludge found on your pole after you pull it back out, this is a tale tell sign that it is time to contact your local plumber to have them inspect your septic tank and empty the excessive slug.

Do not attempt to empty the tank yourself as if done incorrectly, you can damage the tank and possibly your property.

This can be very costly and is not worth the risk.

It is a smarter decision to call someone who is a licensed professional to empty and clean out your tank, and it will be notably cheaper than having to repair or replace a damaged tank caused by you.

While it is possible to empty or fix a sump pump in the winter, it can be difficult and expensive.

Call your local certified plumber before the winter months to inspect your pump and empty out your tank to prevent any issues.

This will assure that your home is prepared for the long cold winter ahead with one less worry and expense as the holiday season draws near.

This is not limited to just the home you live in.

If you have a home that you rent out or have property somewhere that you do not spend a significant amount of time in and use for vacation, don't forget to have the tanks and pipes checked too.

While this may seem counterintuitive, septic tanks that are not used regularly are more likely to freeze and become damaged.

There are many causes for septic tanks to have issues with freezing over the winter.

One of the first things to consider is how close the pipes are to the ground's surface.

Pipes that are buried further down are less likely to freeze as they are more insulated by the ground than pipes found closer to the ground surface.

Similarly, one reason why someone might see their tank or pipes freezing, while their neighbor might not, is due to how the snow has settled on their property.

Snow can act as an insulator for your septic tank; however, problems occur when the snow piles up and compacts into the ground.

If your septic tank and connecting pipes have not been examined recently, you may have small leaks that you are unaware of caused by the heaviness of the snow.


Maybe you did not realize that winter could be so rough on your septic tank or you just ran out of time.

If your septic tank freezes call a professional immediately.

Linthicum plumbing professionals can come to your home and help identify any leak and other hazards and help provide solutions or fix any problems found.

Whatever you do, don’t try to take on the task yourself.

Even with the combined power of YouTube and Google, it is not safe to attempt to fix the problem yourself.

Some common advice found on Google you should avoid is:

• Add antifreeze or other additives to your tank to defrost it quicker

• Attempt to pump out frozen or slushy sewage

• Start a fire over or use a blowtorch to defrost frozen pipes

• Run the water in your house to “flush out” the ice

Google can provide you with a lot of DIY information, but it is not always valuable and reliable.

Plumbing professionals have been trained to use the most effective and safest methods to treat your septic tank issues.

It is always a good idea to be prepared for the worst and take preventative measures.

Call your local professionals to have your septic tank inspected so you can move on to the rest of your to-do list and not worry about the “what ifs” of your a septic tank as the temperature begins to drop.