What you need to know about septic systems and the cold

Cold temperatures may cause problems if you rely on a septic system to run your home. Frozen conditions could impact the drainage or lead to clogs. There are a few simple guidelines to follow if you have a septic system on your property. Fort Bend County officials sent out these septic tank recommendations.

  • Do not add antifreeze to the septic system. Antifreeze can harm the bacteria in the septic system. This could cause major issues in the future. Pumping the tank could require a special type of waste hauler.
  • Do not pump sewage onto the ground surface.
  • Do not start a fire over the system to attempt to thaw it out
  • Do not alter water usage. For example, do not run water for long periods of time to try and unfreeze the system. But, not using the systems at all is not the answer either. Septic tanks are more likely to freeze when they are not being used, so you should use the water in your home to reduce the risk.

Signs your septic system might be frozen

The sinks won’t drain. If your septic system is frozen none of the sinks in the home will drain. This includes the kitchen and bathroom sinks. Basically, the drains are clogged with ice.

Bathtubs and showers will not drain. If the septic lines are frozen, bathtubs and showers will also not drain. The washing machine water line will not work either.

If you have extra people in your home right now, remind them that they can only flush waste and toilet paper. Fort Bend County officials said to keep an eye on your septic system. If you see any seeping or ponding around the system, contact a licensed professional for help.

*Not all plumbing companies are licensed to work on septic systems so make sure you check on this before having someone come to your home.

Homeowners with well water systems should also take precautions during the cold. Here’s how to keep your water well from freezing.


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