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Frozen pipes bursting onto the local scene

It's been a tough winter for septic system experts, even though warm weather would dictate otherwise. "We're seeing a lot of frozen tanks," said Dave Hacker of Backhoe Pete. Warm weather drives the frost down and the frost gets down around the pi...

It’s been a tough winter for septic system experts, even though warm weather would dictate otherwise.

“We’re seeing a lot of frozen tanks,” said Dave Hacker of Backhoe Pete.

Warm weather drives the frost down and the frost gets down around the pipe if people don’t use enough water.

Hacker said families with kids who frequently shower and do laundry aren’t in much danger of freezing.

But weekend residents have been calling for help with burst sewer lines that have to be steamed out and frozen septic tanks.

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“We’re seeing more freeze-up,” he said. The biggest reason is lack of snow for insulation.

Hacker said many people throw hay bales over their tanks but then leave them exposed to the elements.

Wet straw is the worst type of insulation, he said. It provides no insulation unless you cover it with a tarp to keep it dry.

Wet insulation keeps the ground frozen in the spring, he said, prolonging the need for a professional to help thaw lines.

He’s seeing lift stations freeze up worst. And he said he’s not allergic to doling out professional advice for homeowners to help themselves.

A heater on a list station can easily be installed by a homeowner, once they have the know-how, which a professional can give.

He doesn’t advise installing your own heater system until you’ve talked to a professional about the brand and installation methods.

“You can still have problems with daily water use,” he said. A leaking toilet or a drippy faucet can fill a septic tank and freeze if not attended to.

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Hacker said at night, he runs his faucets 20 minutes before bedtime, because shallow pipes can still freeze overnight.

Three to five gallons down the water line can help flush them clean.

“I’ve found frost down four-and-a-half-feet deep,” he said, which may surprise people who think we’ve had an abnormally warm winter.

“I’ve seen a lot of septics with frost in the tank or ice forming on top of the tank. Luckily we’ve caught it them all in time.”

Tweets by @DLNewspapers

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