Can Septic Tanks Freeze? Yes, And How To Avoid It

Can Septic Tanks Freeze? Yes, And How To Avoid It |


Some people think burying their septic tanks underground will prevent them from freezing. Unfortunately, the answer is NO, and this is because extreme winter weather can hurt your septic tank. If you dig the ground well enough and bury the tank inside, weather can make the underground soil freeze, thus affecting your septic tank. You may still be worried and find yourself asking

Can Septic Tanks Freeze?

Septic tanks can freeze, although it is low and not frequent. Extreme temperature and an empty apartment can make your septic tank freeze. You must insulate your septic tank. If you don’t use your septic line often and it is not buried under the ground or above the ground, you must insulate it. 

If your toilet isn’t flushing correctly or at all, there is a lot of sewage stored in your home, there is stagnant water in your sink, showers, or bathroom tubs, or you noticed that your bathing tubs and shower wouldn’t drain, all these signs are an indication that your septic sink has issues.

Septic tanks help break down waste and water coming from the washing machine, sinks, showers, toilets, bathrooms, and so on by using gravity, technology, and nature. All the wastewater coming from a particular apartment will go straight to the septic tank, and the liquids will flow into a leach field while the solid wastes will remain at the bottom of the tank. This system is best for people living in rural areas.

Septic tanks freeze under freezing and unfavorable weather. You should always bury your septic tank under the ground to prevent freezing. However, your septic tank can freeze if you bury it too deep under the ground. Also, If you bury your septic tank above the frost line, you expose it to cold and extreme cold will cause it to freeze.

What Causes A Frozen Septic Tank?

Several factors cause your septic tank to freeze, but an empty home and shallow temperature in the winter are the most common. Below are some other factors that can cause your septic tank to freeze:

  • Your septic tank will freeze if you don’t insulate it occasionally
  • If you don’t bury your septic line perfectly deep under the ground, it can cause it to freeze.
  • Your septic tank can freeze if you don’t use it often.
  • Extremely cold weather can cause your septic tank to freeze.
  • If the soil covering your septic line is too hard, it can cause your septic tank to freeze.
  • A plumbing leak such as a leaking faucet can cause your septic tank to freeze.
  • Improper septic line pitching.

Signs Of A Frozen Septic Tank

Your septic tank is frozen if;

  • Your toilet is not flushing properly or at all.
  • Your sink, washing machine, and bathing tubs won’t dry up after using them. 

Is It Bad To Have a Frozen Septic Tank?

A frozen tank will always be an issue because when any part of your septic tank freezes, it becomes very difficult for the system to break down waste, thereby causing the water in the tank to freeze. When your septic tank freezes, your drainage pipes become dysfunctional, and the whole drainage system can generate a fault. 

Furthermore, when your septic tank freezes, it causes plumbing issues, leading to costly repair and replacement of the system or parts of it. Be critical about your septic tank maintenance to prevent it from freezing at all costs.

Frozen Septic Tank Solutions

People ask about the best-frozen septic tank solutions, but experts in the field advise that you don’t take on the task on your own. You may have checked youtube and found some DIYing solutions, such as adding hot water or pouring chemicals inside the septic tank, but these will only worsen or cause another issue.

If your septic tank freezes, do not pour hot water inside the tank, don’t start a fire above the septic tank, don’t attempt to force the waste out of the tank yourself, and don’t use any antifreeze chemical. The best solution is to call a professional plumber to help you sort the problem out and fix it.

How to Keep Your Septic Tank from Freezing

There are a lot of precautions you can take to prevent your septic tank from freezing; read on to learn about these precautions. If you want to prevent your septic tank from freezing, you should;

  • Bury the septic line 18-25 inches below the ground.
  • Make sure hot or warm water runs through the septic line once daily. You can achieve this by taking a hot shower or doing your laundry with hot water.
  • Once you bury your septic tank, avoid mowing that particular area for some weeks before the growing season ends.
  • A snow trap above the ground also prevents your septic tank from freezing.
  • Whenever you notice any leak in your drainage system, call a professional to help you repair it immediately.
  • Extreme cold during winter always causes your septic tank to freeze; thus, heat your home to 56-60 F during this season.
  • Empty your septic tank before you travel
  • Bury your septic tank 8-13 inches below the ground.
  • If you are on an extended vacation, get someone to help you run hot or warm water in your septic line every four days.

If your septic tank freezes, get in touch with an expert to help you repair it. If you leave it without fixing it for an extended period, other essential parts may generate faults, too, leading to the extra cost of repair and replacement.

Using Septic Tank Heater To Prevent Your Septic Tank From Freezing

You can prevent your septic tank from freezing by heating your home to a specific degree. Another way to prevent your septic tank from freezing is by getting a septic tank heater. It maintains the particular temperature necessary for the system to function well. A septic tank heater makes it easy to prevent your septic tank from freezing by blowing warm air into the tank even when you are not there.

Types Of Septic Tank Heater

There are two categories of septic tank heaters, and they are;

  • Automatic Septic Tank Heater
  • Semi-Automatic Tank Heater

An Automatic septic tank heater will switch ON and OFF once it detects a change in the temperature. Even when you are away from home, it will continue to function to regulate the temperature of the septic tank. A semi-automatic septic tank heater requires manual control to work well.


Septic Tanks function well under a favorable temperature, and you won’t have a case of a frozen septic tank if you maintain yours very well. This article contains everything you need to prevent your septic tank from freezing. However, if you experience a case of septic tank freezing, then you should contact a professional plumber to help you resolve it.


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