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How to Prepare Your Septic System for Winter

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

  1. Get your septic system serviced.

  2. It’s ok to be too lazy to mow the lawn.

  3. Tell your family to keep their personal items out of the toilet.

Well, that was the easiest blog post we ever wrote.

Seriously though. The wastewater treatment that occurs in your septic tank is a biological process, and as with many biological processes, the cold makes it sloooowww doowwnn,

In case you missed our recent blog post about how your septic system works, the waste in your tank is broken down by living microbes, and separated into oils on top, liquids in the middle, and solids on the bottom. The liquids are then leached out into your leach field (or drain field) where microbes in the soil naturally remove harmful bacteria and viruses, allowing the now clean, safe water to percolate in the soil.

Since the microbial activity slows down as the temperature drops, it makes sense that your septic system could use a little extra love before the cold weather sets in. Here are 5 easy tips to prepare your septic system for a Connecticut winter.

1. Have your system serviced

Remember, the EPA recommends having a professional company (like us!) service your septic system – which includes pumping the tank – every 2 to 3 years. If you’re getting close to needing a service, schedule it NOW, before the weather gets too cold. It is much harder to find and dig out your tank cover when the ground is frozen.

2. Complete any necessary repairs

When we come out to service your septic system, we’ll identify issues that need to be addressed before the winter. This is important for two reasons.

First, a small issue could become a larger issue in the middle of winter, which means we’re digging up your frozen yard and you’re plying us with hot cocoa.

Second, although we don’t typically see temperatures drop low enough to cause septic systems to freeze up, it is New England and crazy things can happen. A couple years ago we had a customer with a bad leach field, which caused water to sit in their pipes. Combine that with a bitterly cold winter and they had a completely frozen system on their hands. It would’ve been easier and much more cost effective to repair the leach field before winter.

3. Stop the yard work early

We bet you’re really (not) bummed about this tip. It’s simple; the warmer the ground and your tank, the more efficiently your septic system functions.

We already mentioned that it doesn’t usually get cold enough here in Connecticut for you to worry about your system freezing.

But it still wouldn’t hurt to help Mother Nature along a little.

Snow and frost cover the ground like a blanket (up to an R1 rated blanket for every inch of snow cover actually…which is very warm). By not mowing your lawn late into the fall, you’ll give it time to grow longer and thicker before winter. This will help to insulate the soil and retain the snow over your drain field as long as possible.

Plus, who wants to mow the lawn when they could be picking apples, carving pumpkins, or sitting by the fire watching a Netflix marathon?

4. Keep cars far, far, far away

We’ve said it before, and we’re sure to say it again. Never, ever park vehicles of any kind on top of your drain field.

This is especially important in winter, because heavy vehicles and machinery will compact the soil above your system (and prevent insulating snow from covering the ground) potentially exposing your pipe and septic tank to the cold.

5. Let guests know the house rule:

You flush it, you fish it.

Wintertime coincides with the arrival of the holiday season…and the arrival of more frequent visits from loved ones (well, unless you’re celebrating the holidays via Zoom this year).

If your family and friends aren’t familiar with septic systems, they could end up causing issues by flushing something they weren’t supposed to. Feel free to attach our post about the top things you should never flush if you have a septic system to your holiday party invite, or just announce a new house rule – if it’s not waste or toilet paper and you flush it…you get to fish it out.

They won’t make that mistake twice.

Should your family or friends settle in and decide to stay awhile, be extra careful to stagger showers and running the dishwasher or washing machine so you avoid flooding your system with too much water at once. This is especially important if you also have a well (which many homeowners with septic systems do). Using too much water too quickly could accidentally drain your well, which can cause issues with your well pump.

We’ve got your back

When you need to call a pro…we’d love to be the ones you call! We offer state-of-the-art technology, professional and knowledgeable technicians, fair rates and detailed service reports. We can service your system, including pump and clean your tank if needed and help with problems such as:

  • Clearing clogged septic and sewer drains

  • Waterlogged drainfields (which will freeze more easily in cold weather)

  • Repairing and replacing leaking or sagging pipes

We’re also open for emergencies 24/7, even weekends and holidays – and we like our hot cocoa with those little mini marshmallows.

Experience the ADB Septic Advantage today. Call us at (860) 432-5996 or visit us here online at


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