How To Unfreeze A Frozen Septic Line

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If your septic line freezes, you may notice your toilets won't flush or a sink doesn't drain properly. Leaving a septic tank line frozen could cause major problems later by flooding the yard with melted water.

Frozen septic lines occur from infrequent use, a shallow line, improper pitch, or lack of insulation. You should be able to tackle the frozen septic line problem yourself by following these steps 

Prepare to Unfreeze the Septic Line

To untfreeze a septic line, you need: 

  • work gloves
  • shovel 
  • pry bar
  • garden hose with PEX adapter or wire puller
  • bucket
  • heat gun or hair dryer
  • space heater
  • heat tape 

A septic system commonly has two covers: one for liquid and one for solid. Look for the cover nearest to the house where the line extends from the house to the holding tank, or the T-baffle. You will likely need to shovel the snow and dirt around the cover, and use a pry bar to open the lid. 

Spray the Line

Add a PEX adapter to the hose to keep it from getting too soft from hot water, or attach a wire puller. The nozzle should be four to six inches in diameter to keep it from rotating on the pipe.  

Locate a water source close to the pipe, such as a utility room or spigot. If you use an indoor source, connect a backflow presenter. The temperature of the hot water should not be more than 110 degrees F. 

Insert the hose into the pipe until you hit the blockage, and turn on the hot water. Remove the hose, and close the holding tank after the ice melts. Clean the hose and tools with a disinfectant.

Use Other Heat Sources

If you don't have a hot water source nearby, try a bucket of hot water. Just be certain the water won't melt plastic pipes. Keep pouring the water into the pipe until the ice melts. 

Alternately, run a drop cord, if needed, and set a space heater near the pipe. This method will take longer, but it should work well, but keep a watch on the heater. 

If the heater hasn't melted the ice in several hours, move a heat gun or hair dryer back and forth over the pipe. Another way to thaw the pipes is with heat tape, but like the heater, it takes awhile.

Prevent Frozen Lines

To avoid septic pipe freezing:

  • Don't compact dirt or snow above the line, such as from vehicles.
  • Cover the pipe with two to four inches of rigid foam insulation, and plant grass in bare areas around the pipe.
  • If the home isn't occupied often, flush the toilet regularly to keep warmth going into the pipe

. .Contact a service, like Roto-Rooter Sewer Service, for more help.

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23 November 2017

Plumbing For A Better Home

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