septic tank

23 Feb. 21

5 Potential Septic Tank Issues in the Winter & How to Avoid Them

Winter is here, and a lot of things in your home may be under unique stress. Your septic tank may be at risk during this time due to the cold weather, snow, and the guests that come to your house. Surely, you don’t want to deal with a septic tank problem, especially in the middle of winter! Here are some potential issues you may encounter and how to avoid them: 

  • Tank Components Are Frozen

When snow gets deep into your septic tank’s components, it can freeze them, or worse, the entire system. Frozen tank components will slow down the metabolic rate of anaerobic bacteria in the tank. In turn, the waste will not be broken down. 

Avoid this by adding an insulating cover or blanket to your tank to keep it warm during the winter. It will also help to run your water and use the septic system every day to reduce the risk of freezing. 

  • Snow and Soil Are Compacted

Driving over snow with your vehicle can compact the snow above the tank. Combined with the cold weather, this can make the soil above the tank dense and compact. When this happens, it won’t be able to insulate your tank effectively, which will lead to a frozen septic system.

Avoid this by aerating your soil before winter and as much as possible, avoid driving over the parts of your lawn. 

  • Pipes Are Not Functioning Properly

Leaky or clogged pipes often lead to improper drainage. Moreover, leaks during winter can cause the water to freeze, which can damage the septic system. On the other hand, clogs can cause wastewater to build up in the pipes, which can also freeze. When wastewater freezes, it can damage your system and contaminate the water you drink at home. 

Avoid this by fixing leaky pipes before winter and address any clogs as soon as you notice them. 

  • Overworked System 

If you have guests during the holiday season, your septic system can become overworked because there will be an increase in showers and laundry. Also, the preparation of holiday meals can contribute to an overworked septic system as well. 

You can avoid this by staggering showers and laundry usage. It will also be a good idea to stagger food preparation over a few days. 

  • Difficulties in Pumping the Tank

You will find that it’s more challenging to pump your septic tank in the winter. This is because the ground is hard and frozen, and the snow on the lawn makes digging into the yard even more challenging. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t perform maintenance during this time of the year. You still can, but you can save yourself from the hassle by having your tank pumped the moment you realize it’s about to be full. Early pumping before the ground is frozen will decrease the chances of necessary maintenance during the cold months. 


Knowing the potential septic tank issues in the winter and how you can avoid them are important. Should you come across any of these problems, make sure you have a professional handle them. 

Here at 24 Hour Plumbing & Heating, our emergency plumbers in Calgary, AB can help you out. Contact us today.