22 January A person manually thawing their frozen sewer pipe

7 Tips to Prevent a Frozen Sewer Line

Posted by PlumbWize

It’s not uncommon for freezing winter temperatures to wreak havoc on your home, from your doors and windows to your plumbing and heating systems. However, what you might not know is that your sewer lines are particularly vulnerable during this time.

A frozen sewer line can lead to a lack of water circulating in your home and cause some pipes to clog. If left unaddressed for too long, a frozen sewer line to your septic tank could result in a burst that floods your property with sewage water.

So, when prepping for the cold weather, make sure you have all your bases covered to avoid costly mishaps. In this article, we’ll share some tips on how you can prevent a frozen septic line and avoid residential plumbing problems.

Ready? Let’s get into it!

What Causes Frozen Sewer Lines?

Frozen sewer lines typically occur when extremely cold temperatures cause water in the pipes to freeze. As the water solidifies, it expands, creating blockages or even rupturing the pipe. Lack of proper insulation, inadequate heat sources, or prolonged exposure to frigid weather contribute to this issue. Additionally, poor drainage and trapped water in the sewer line can intensify the likelihood of freezing.

You may be wondering at what temperature does sewage freeze? It can happen in any temperature below 0º C. When this happens, it’s imperative to call emergency plumbing services.

With all that being said, homeowners can safeguard their property from issues surrounding a frozen septic line or main sewer line from freezing by following these steps.

Frozen pipes covered in snow in the middle of winter
Image source: Canva

Tip #1: Keep the Heat On

If you’re going out of town for a few days, consider leaving your heat on before you leave. By keeping the temperature inside your house at least 13º C, you will drastically reduce the chances of your sewer lines and drain pipes freezing.

Tip #2: Increase Your Water Temperature

Your water heater keeps hot water flowing, so make sure it’s still maintaining the proper temperature to avoid a frozen drain pipe. If the weather gets significantly colder, turn the water heater up by a couple of degrees to prepare.

Tip #3: Insulate Your Pipes

If your sewer pipes are not properly insulated, there is an increased risk of the water inside them freezing. Prepare your pipes for winter by wrapping them in insulation and securing them with electrical tape. This is how you prevent frozen sewer lines.

Tip #4: Keep Some Water Running

As we mentioned, a frozen pipe often happens when water isn’t flowing consistently. To avoid a frozen sewer line, you should also run a light stream of water from one of your faucets when things get really cold to keep things moving.

Tip #5: Bury Sewer Lines & Traps

Another way to avoid a frozen septic line is burying your sewer pipes and drain traps below the frost line. This depth, while usually a few feet, will vary greatly depending on where you live and the local climate. Call a plumber for assistance if needed.

 someone applying foam sewer pipe insulation to avoid a frozen septic system
Image source: Canva

Tip #6: Bolster Your Indoor Insulation

While insulating your pipes is great, you also want to ensure the indoor areas connected to them—such as your basement or garage—are well-insulated. Check for cracks and drafts, applying weatherstripping or insulation foam as needed.

Tip #7: Clean Your Grates & Gutters

You’ll also want to ensure that your outside gutters and drain grates are free of obstructions, whether that may be twigs, leaves, snow, or ice. “Ice dams” in particular will prevent water from draining away from the house, leading it to seep into the sewer line and freeze.

Call PlumbWize to Thaw a Frozen Sewer Line

Unfortunately, sometimes your main sewer line being frozen is inevitable even after following these steps. That’s when it’s time to call a professional, because, as you’ve learned, frozen sewer line complications are serious business.

PlumbWize knows frozen sewer lines; we’ve spent decades helping Canadians get their plumbing systems through brutal winters. If you’ve got a frozen septic line, tank, or any other winter-related plumbing problem, we’re the team you can count on—24/7—to respond to emergencies in the case of a serious burst.

Don’t wait—contact us today!


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