Phone # (607) 273-8311

December 10th, 2014

The Dropping Temperatures can Cause Your Septic System Pipes to Freeze

The days of warm weather are now past and the dropping temperatures of winter can play havoc with your septic system. The Drain Brain, Ithaca septic services wants you to be able to get through the winter with the least amount of septic system issues as possible.  Septic systems are susceptible to damage from freezing temperatures simply due to the nature of the pipes being underground and somewhat exposed to the Northeast elements.

Ithaca Septic ServicesWhen a septic system is installed, there are specific recommendations provided which dictate how deep the system and pipes should be to prevent freeze ups and ensure that the system works properly.  Any deviation from the recommended depth requirements from settling or heaving, can put your septic system at risk.

Our septic services in Tompkins County sees many freeze ups of underground systems when the temperatures fall sharply below freezing before there are any significant snowfalls for the season.  The reason for this is simply that the snow acts as an insulating blanket for the pipes and system.  If the temperatures fall low enough, without snow cover, the frost can get much deeper into the ground and reach the septic system pipes.

Frozen pipes in your septic system will then cause a backup into your home or business because the disposed water and waste cannot get out into the septic tank itself and may end up in the leach field causing unseen damage and as the frozen pipe section continues to freeze, it follows the pipe into the tank itself and begins to cause freezing in the tank as well.

How Deep is Deep Enough ?

The first thing is to be sure your system is adequately covered with the appropriate amount of gravel and fill as recommended.  Know where your septic system is located and in which direction the pipes run.  Always be aware that damage can occur to the pipes if heavy equipment drives over them, freezing temperatures get to them, or you inadvertently uncover the lines during the winter season.

This is important.  In the winter, no matter what, if you have a good snow covering over your septic system, do NOT uncover, snow blow or plow the area near or around the system.  Uncovering the system and the pipes leading in and out will allow the damaging temperatures to sink deeper into the ground and potentially freeze up your lines.

“Plastic drain pipes are usually buried at least 18″ and bedded in sand to avoid mechanical damage to the pipe. But building main drains (upper right circle in our photo at left) are often not below the frost line outdoors and in a freezing climate such as New York, the lines depend on proper slope to drain into a septic tank or into a municipal sewer main to avoid freezing.

So the waste piping depth is more determined by using the required pipe slope (1/8″ to 1/4″ per linear foot) and working backwards from the septic tank or municipal sewer line connection point and the property’s own elevation and slope.” (Inspectapedia )


What To Do When a Septic System Freeze Up Occurs

Whatever you do, do not try to dig up the system. Again, this could allow the freezing temperatures to affect the system and what may have been a small Ithaca septic servicesproblem can become a huge issue.  Call The Drain Brain for emergency plumbing services in Ithaca as they are available 24/7 to provide you with expert and professional assistance in the event of a freeze up or any other plumbing issues.

The Drain Brian Ithaca septic services can easily and quickly thaw out the pipes to your septic system, and make sure that the entire unit is working properly. Our septic services in Tompkins County have seen many years where the freezing temperatures hit the area before any significant snow totals. Be prepared and consider calling your local plumbing services in Tompkins County area for advice on how best to protect your septic system and property.

The Drain Brain is available as your Ithaca septic services and plumbing expert seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day including emergency plumbing services in the Ithaca area.  Be ready before the winter strikes it’s hardest.

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