Winter and Your Septic System’s Bacterium

Winter And your Septic System Bacteria

You may be surprised to learn that these winter months put a unique stress on your septic system. When it comes to upkeep, we tend to think that wintertime offers a bit of a break from all the chores associated with taking care of our homes. After all, the grass doesn’t need to be cut, the leaves have all been raked up, and the shrubbery around the house is in full winter hibernation mode. However, septic systems, though perhaps buried under several feet of snow, never get a break. These colder months create specific issues, particularly for your septic system’s bacterium, that you’ll want to be sure to keep ahead of.

Winter’s Effect on the Bacteria in Your Septic

Winter And your Septic System Bacteria
A macro shot of the detail of freezing rain on the branch of a tree.

The bacteria who find home within your septic system are incredibly sensitive to dips in temperature. Most of those found within your system are happiest when the temperatures stay above 50°F. When these numbers start to fall, bacteria activity slows significantly, and if they fall far enough, activity may cease altogether. What this means for your septic system is a significant reduction in efficiency at breaking down the solids, which sink to the bottom of your tank as sludge. Because of this reduction in efficiency, the solids in your tank will accumulate more quickly, putting additional strain on your already strained system.

Keep your Septic Bacteria Cozy

One great way to regulate your septic system’s operating temperature and keep your bacteria from slowing down is to ensure great insulation before temperatures dip for the season. One of the easiest ways to do this is to cut your grass a little longer in the fall. Not only is this better for your lawn, but leaving the grass a little longer in the fall will also give your septic system a bit more insulation. You can also get insulating covers for your septic that serve to insulate your septic tank and drain field, to protect them from freezing when temperatures dip dangerously low.

Give Your Septic a Hand in the Winter

While the bacteria in your septic system experience a bit of a slow-down, give them a helping hand by scheduling a regular maintenance call to have your septic system pumped. Commercial brand additives, like Rid-X, might suggest their product will help keep your system moving during these frigid winter months, but we’ve found these products do far more harm than good. We’ve found the best solution to a slower system is a regular maintenance visit. Many people do not realize we are able to pump out septic systems during the winter. In fact, it’s critically important to keep up with your septic maintenance during the winter months. When your system’s bacteria are slower at breaking down the solids in your tank, we recommend calling us to schedule a pump out to give your system a helping hand.