If you’re like many of us, you may find the septic system a bit of a mystery. You probably have a vague understanding of how it works, know that it involves a drain field and a tank, and understand that it should be cleaned out every few years. Other than that, you probably don’t think about the septic system very much- until there’s a problem. You can prevent many mishaps through regular maintenance, but what about when your problems are caused by the weather?
- Winter weather can be hard on your septic tank. Here’s why: the low temperatures make it difficult for your septic tank’s bacteria to survive. The septic tank doesn’t just fill up with waste and wait for someone to pump it out; it uses microscopic bacteria to physically digest the waste so that only water and carbon dioxide are left. Whatever waste the bacteria leaves behind settles to the bottom of the tank as sludge, and if there aren’t enough bacteria, the sludge can build up and become a problem. Unfortunately, the bacteria in septic tanks are sensitive to temperature and tend to slow down or even stop when the temperatures plunge below about 50°F. Combine this with the increased load placed on your septic system during the winter months due to house guests and fatty foods, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
- Heavy rainfall can also wreak havoc on your septic system. Rain can saturate the drain field, making it impossible to for water to drain from the septic system. This causes the water to travel backward, moving through your pipes and into the toilets and drains inside your house. Flooded drain fields can also send untreated sewage into the groundwater and local bodies of water, which can lead to environmental contamination.
- Prevention is the most effective way to deal with septic tank issues. Even issues caused by weather can often be avoided with a little bit of proactive maintenance. Keep up with routine service, having it emptied every few years. Seed your septic tank with bacteria that functions well in cooler temperatures, and make sure you’re allowing the bacteria to thrive, by avoiding cleaners that contain bleach or have antibacterial properties. Never park, drive, or use heavy machinery over the drain field. Keep your gutters clean, and point all gutters away from the drain field area.
- If a problem occurs, call a professional. If you think your drain field is flooded, try reducing your water usage to relieve pressure from your septic system. Don’t flush the toilet any more than necessary, limit the number of showers, and don’t run the dishwasher or do laundry until the drain field has had a chance to dry out. It’s not advisable to pump the septic tank when it’s flooded, as that can cause damage. However if you believe there’s a problem with your septic system, it’s important to get advice from an expert as soon as possible.
When it’s time to service your septic system, trust A-1 Sewer & Septic Service Inc. to provide fast, friendly, efficient service at a reasonable cost. Having served the residents of the Kansas City Metro Area since 1968, we are focused on customer service and satisfaction and will work hard to help you solve your problem before more damage is done. Visit our to learn more, or call us at 913-631-5201 any time of day or night for emergency services or to get a no-obligation quote.