Because it’s buried several feet underground, you might think your septic system is safe from extreme cold. Unfortunately, nothing is immune from a Pennsylvania winter, including your septic tank and drain field. The list below discusses how a deep freeze can wreak havoc on your water treatment system, and how to prevent serious problems before they start.

How Cold Weather Affects Your Septic System

1. Frozen Septic Components

While the tank itself may not freeze, the drain field or outlet pipes can get clogged with ice, bringing the entire system to a halt. Fortunately, you can keep ice from forming in the first place by using the septic system every day and covering the tank with an insulating layer of leaves or mulch.

2. Frozen Drains

septic systemThe pipes leading into the septic tank can also freeze, especially if you have a leaky faucet or toilet. The constant trickle of water freezes easily, eventually creating a dam that blocks the pipe completely. To keep drain pipes clear, have any leaks or other plumbing problems fixed immediately.

3. Compacted Soil

Driving over your septic system is always dangerous, but it’s especially hazardous in the winter. The weight of a vehicle, combined with cold weather, can compact the soil in your drain field, which restricts the flow of wastewater.

4. Difficulty Cleaning

Digging through frozen ground and accumulated snow makes emptying your septic tank much more difficult in the winter. To preserve the tank as much as possible, only flush toilet paper. Restrict water usage, such as only doing laundry once a week or washing the dishes twice a week.


If winter is taking a toll on your septic system, call the experts at A A Septic Tank & Drain Service. They’ve been serving Westmoreland County homeowners for over 40 years. Their extensive experience gives them the skills to handle almost any job, from regular maintenance to complete drain field installations. Visit their website for an overview of their services or call (724) 593-7457 to have a technician check out your system today.