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Getting Ahead Of The Mess: Septic System Maintenance In Winter

Getting Ahead Of The Mess: Septic System Maintenance In Winter

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Avoiding The Smelly Problem Of A Damaged Septic System

There is no getting around it, your septic system is an essential part of your plumbing that needs to be maintained. While it may not be the best topic to talk about during dinner, you should know that it can expose your septic system to new elements that can cause damage with winter chills and snow. Although septic systems are expected to handle some harsh conditions, lack of proper preventative care and maintenance can lead to some smelly problems you cannot ignore. Here are some of the ways the winter can damage your septic system.

Frozen Pipes And Components

While your septic system is underground and not directly exposed to the blistering cold of winter, the ground on top of your septic system will still freeze up. Colder temperatures can put a strain on your septic system by making it harder to break down and transfer waste. If this frozen waste problem progresses, you can deal with significant backup that can put a great deal of strain on your septic system and even lead to potential ruptures. Even small leaks can lead to high costs if they are not treated early and adequately.

You can help prevent freezing parts by using your septic system often because the running water will allow some parts not to freeze as fast. You can also try insulating or covering the area of your septic tank with a frost blanket before the temperature plummets.

Snow Compaction

Making snow angels and having snowball fights is a fun way to pass the time in the winter, but while snow can be fun, it can bring along a slurry of problems. One of the issues of snow is the weight it can put on your septic system. Heavy snowfall accumulation puts pressure on the soil that your septic system cannot handle. As this snow continues to compact, this can cause your septic system not to insulate appropriately, leading to frozen pipes, which will make your system not run as efficiently. The best preventative measure you can take is to try and clear the snow that is lying on top of your septic system and avoid placing heavy objects, like vehicles, above the ground where your septic system is stored.

How Often You Use Your Septic System

With the holidays you may have more friends and family over for a nice dinner or small party. With more people comes the issue of more septic system usage. Of course, your septic system can handle heavy usage, but a sudden increase in use can put a strain on your plumbing. A home that typically has a family of three will see a significant spike in plumbing usage if four or more people have an extended stay for the holidays.

You may think that to solve overworking your septic system; you should cut back on use dramatically. Funnily enough, not using your septic system can often lead to frozen pipes due to the decreased flow of water in your septic system. While this may seem overwhelming, you can quickly adapt to the winter by not showering or using too many water-based appliances all at once and avoid overworking your pipes. Consider spreading out your showers and even laundry throughout the day so you don't have to deal with waking up to a burst pipe.


While clogs can happen all year round, in the winter, you want to be wary of not putting additional strain on your septic system by flushing objects that do not belong in a toilet. While some wipes may say they are flushable, try to avoid flushing them because, more often than not, they are the furthest thing from flushable. Clogs in the winter can be much more annoying to deal with due to frozen components, and backed-up wastewater can cause issues with your drainage.

While there are small steps you can take to prevent winter from doing its worst, sometimes mother nature can get the upper hand, but that doesn't mean you're out of luck. Thankfully at Pilgrim Plumbing & Heating we know a thing or two about winter plumbing and can quickly get you out of your frozen pipe problems. So give us a call at (781) 253-2055, and we'll make sure this winter, all you need to worry about is how many marshmallows to put in your coco.