Once the weather turns cold, many septic owners make the mistake of thinking their systems won’t need maintenance again until spring when the temperatures start to climb. However, the reality is wintertime septic services are just as, if not more, important as maintenance throughout the rest of the year. Cold weather can have some pretty dangerous effects on your septic system, and keeping ahead of them by maintaining your service visits will help prevent disaster this winter. Here are some of the most common complications winter can bring for your septic system.
Fats, Oils, & Greases (FOGs) in Winter
Once temperatures dip below freezing, FOGs present unique challenges for your septic system. We always stress the importance of limiting the amount of FOGs that enter your system. In the winter, this is even more important when FOGs are prone to solidifying in your pipes and potentially creating blockages within your septic tank. Add to that, wintertime, with its festive holidays and decadent feasts, is the season of rich foods. The preparation and cleanup of these foods has the potential to introduce even more FOGs into our septic systems than usual. In fact, wintertime is the season when we tend to flush more FOGs into our system than any other time of the year. Taking steps to limit the amount of FOGs entering your system will help alleviate the issues they present for your septic system in the winter. But most importantly, wintertime service visits will remove any accumulated FOGs and prevent clogs from happening within your septic system.
Wintertime Impact on Your Septic System’s Bacteria
The bacteria living within your septic system work hard, all year round, to break down the solids within your tank. In fact, the bacterial environment is so integral to a properly functioning system that we spend a lot of time educating septic owners on how to protect it. The bacteria within your septic system are happiest when the temperatures stay above 50°F. Once the temperatures fall below that, bacteria activity slows significantly. The result is a reduction in your system’s efficiency at breaking down solids within your tank. In the colder months, because of reduced bacteria activity, solids will accumulate more quickly. Left unchecked, these accumulated solids can overwhelm your tank and backup into your home or flow out into the drain field, which can cause whole system failure. Scheduling a wintertime septic cleaning is the best way to give your septic system a hand during the colder months when bacterial activity is sluggish.
Wintertime Soil Saturation around Your Septic System
Along with cold temperatures, wintertime brings additional precipitation in the form of snow, which slowly melts into the ground, rather than running off into nearby streams and lakes. Heavy precipitation during the late winter and early spring months causes the water table to rise. A higher water table means your drainfield has less room to filter out microscopic particles and bacteria from the effluent flowing from the septic tank. Overwhelming the septic system with too much water during the winter can cause the drainfield to become flooded, potentially flooding the area around your system with harmful contaminants. We frequently stress the importance of practicing water conservation habits. This is especially true in the winter, when cold temperatures make our systems less efficient and the higher water table allows less room to dispel excess water. Wintertime septic cleanings are also helpful in preventing the system from becoming overwhelmed.
Keep your septic system happy during the colder months by scheduling a wintertime service visit. As Northeast Ohio’s largest septic provider, Supeck Septic Services offers routine as well as emergency septic services. Contact us today to schedule your wintertime service visit!