Like any system within your home, a septic system requires routine care to last as long as possible. This is especially true when winter approaches, as weather-related challenges can impact the system and how you care for it. From planning a septic pump service to ensuring your system is properly insulated, here are some steps to prepare for winter. 

How to Winterize a Septic System 

1. Schedule a Septic Pump Service

If you're due for a septic pump service, it’s best to schedule it before winter arrives in full force. Once the ground is completely frozen, pumping buried tanks becomes impossible until the ground has thawed again. Moreover, it takes time for bacteria in the tank to restore balance following a pump service, and frigid temperatures can interfere with this process, making your system less efficient. 

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Most septic systems should be pumped every three to five years. Smaller tanks or those that accommodate many members of the house will require more frequent service than those that are larger or utilized less often.

2. Prevent Freezing

If your septic tank is full and becomes frozen, its liquid contents can freeze and push back up into your pipes. Combined with routine septic pump service, keeping the system warm can prevent this issue. 

Many homeowners in cold climates lay down frost blankets to insulate the system prior to freezing weather. Frost blankets are waterproof barriers that can be placed over the septic system to provide insulation. They trap heat from the soil and allow any snowfall to serve as additional insulation, helping to prevent the tank from freezing. Keeping your grass longer, at least 6 inches, can also add warmth.

3. Keep Off the Area 

You should always avoid activity directly over the septic system, as the added weight could compromise the tank and other structures. This is especially true in the winter, when snow adds even more weight than soil alone. 

If you have children, encourage them not to play in that area of the yard. You'll also want to avoid driving any vehicles, including snowmobiles, over the tank. 


Whether you’re due for a septic pump service or experiencing problems with your system, Alaska Sewer & Drain LLC in Anchorage can help. Offering statewide services, this team of certified technicians is available for emergencies 24/7 as well as routine septic and sewer care. Learn more about their services online, and call (907) 248-9557 for an appointment.