How Does The Weather Affect Your Septic System?

It’s pretty easy to forget about your septic system – out of sight, out of mind – that is, until something goes wrong with it and you’re paying thousands of dollars to have it fixed or replaced. Our goal is to prevent that from happening as long as possible to keep your hard-earned cash in your pocket. Of course, we can’t prevent it forever as your septic system does need regular maintenance, but the goal is always to keep it running efficiently and eliminate any potential emergency services. 

The best way to keep your septic system running at an optimum level is to understand what circumstances and elements have an effect on it. One thing that affects your septic system that many people don’t consider is the weather! Every season has its own weather extremes and trends, and winter is no exception. The cold, dry air in winter combined with an increase in precipitation – be it snow, rain or melting ice – can interfere with how your septic system functions. 


Did you know your septic tank contains a whole ecosystem of bacteria that help it function properly? The bacteria play an important role in treating waste as it moves through the system, keeping the tank from backing up and overflowing. Without this helpful bacteria, sludge builds up in the tank and prevents it from draining properly. The result is pretty unpleasant! 

This bacteria thrive in temperatures above 50 degrees. As temperatures dip below that, especially for extended periods of time, the bacteria may slow or even stop functioning! Without regular maintenance, the build up of sludge that can result from the absence of bacteria can become a pretty costly disaster.


Another major weather issue that impacts your septic system is flooding – and we’re not talking about major flooding like you see on tv. Your septic system could get flooded by any heavy rainfall or significant amount of ice/snow melt. As the precipitation soaks into the ground, it saturates the drain field of your septic system, preventing it from draining waste water and causing an overflow. This overflow can back up through the pipes into your house and end up in your toilet, bathtub or sink or it can also send untreated sewage into groundwater or local bodies of water, which is, of course a major environmental hazard.


As with most things, prevention is about preemptive care. If you keep up with regular maintenance on your septic system – have it emptied every few years – and do what you can to improve the situation – point your gutters away from your drain field and avoid use of chemical cleaning products that contain bleach, which further harms the bacteria that helps process waste – you’re not likely to need emergency assistance for a backed up septic tank. 

Of course, things happen sometimes, and you may find yourself with a backed up tank even after doing everything right. That’s just life! But no worries. There are still things you can do to reduce the negative impact before a professional is able to fix the problem. If you suspect your drain field is flooded, reduce the amount of water you use to relieve some pressure on the septic system. And, most importantly, call in the professionals at Miller’s Services so we can get your septic system back in working order as soon as possible! 

Remember, we’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all your HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing and Septic emergencies. Give us a call at (804) 758-4314!

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