Septic sewer lines rarely freeze, as there is usually enough biological activity going on to keep the tank and pipes warm and waste flowing freely through winter. However, your sewer pipes can still freeze of they are shallow or not properly insulated, which can result in waste overflowing into your yard or backing up into your sinks and toilets.
The best way to prevent your sewer lines from freezing is to insulate the surface using grass or bales of hay, or have a plumber cover surface pipes with Styrofoam insulation. Ensuring that none of your faucets is leaking is also important, as trickling water can easily form ice dams inside the pipes.
In order to preserve your sewer pipes and keep your septic system functional after freezing, you should hire a contractor to inspect the system for frozen pipes and thaw them as soon as you notice blockages. Here are several guidelines to help thaw your frozen septic pipes:
Heat up the pipes
If freezing is not too critical, you can attempt to use hot water to melt any ice that may be blocking your pipes. Taking hot showers regularly or pouring boiling water through your toilets or sinks could do the trick, but you should stop this if there is no improvement in the first few days. This is because the pipes could be completely blocked with ice, and pouring hot water into them could cause pressure to build up and burst the pipes.
Alternatively, you can use a hair dryer or electric heater to warm up the air around the frozen area and melt the ice. This could take long, but it is very effective. If ice has not melted after several hours, it's time to call in a contractor to locate the source of the freeze and thaw it using electric heat tape or an electric gun.
Use a pipe thawing machine
A thawing machine can be rented from your local hardware store if you are dealing with severe freezing that has completely shut down your septic pipes. This equipment can be pretty complicated to use, and you may also have trouble identifying areas that are frozen, which is why you need to hire a plumber to work the equipment and help you successfully thaw the pipes.
If you decide to attempt thawing the pipes yourself, be careful not to damage the pipes, as a burst pipe would cost a fortune to repair and lead to a huge mess. To learn more, contact a company like E & F Septic Tank with any questions you have.