Septic Tank Heater: Features, Types, Installation & Caution

Asides from the need to keep a home warm during winter, your septic system may also require a heater. The septic tank heater is very crucial for such tasks as it keeps or maintains the temperature necessary for bacteria to function.

A frozen septic system won’t serve any purpose as it shuts down wastewater treatment.

With constant innovation comes better operability and functionality. This is what a septic tank heater brings.

In this article, we’ll extensively discuss the workings of this device, how it’s installed, the power it consumes, and whether it’s meant for septic tank installation alone.

Join us to discuss these points and more.

Why You Need A Septic Heater

It’s a fact that cold weather adversely affects septic systems. Digestive bacteria found within your septic tank are most affected as a drop in temperature affects waste breakdown.

With such a situation unfolding, your septic system becomes unstable.

Now, there’s no way to suspend its use as everyone will need to visit the toilets or do laundry, etc at various times of the day. It never has to come to this with a septic tank heater.

Such a heater helps blow warm air into the system, thus helping to maintain its temperature balance.

How A Septic Heater Works

A septic heater is a key tool that helps prevent a septic system from freezing up. This condition is common in winter and has caused problems for a lot of homeowners.

Thankfully, a heater helps warm-up or regulated the air within your septic system.

A septic heater works by blowing warm air into freeze-up spots. These are vulnerable areas exposed to harsh weather conditions that result in frost.

Such points or septic system components include the tank, drain field, and lift station.

  • Key Characteristics

There are two main characteristics of a septic tank heater. All of these have to do with safety. The first feature has to do with an overheating control.

With such control, your septic heater functions effectively without burning out or overheating.

The other important feature of the septic tank heater is its lights. Based on its design, light(s) is mounted above to indicate its working condition. That way, you’re able to detect issues before they worsen.

  • Power Consumption

Septic tank heaters are powered by electricity. This means having one incorporated or attached to your septic system will attract higher electricity bills.

On average, septic tank heaters use about 1.2 kW per hour. Using this figure to calculate daily rates incurred, you get about $1.00 per day in the height of winter.

Installing A Septic Tank Heater

Septic tank heaters should be installed in such a way that they provide maximum warmth to the target area.

In terms of installation, one thing is clear; it can be done in a breeze (under 20 minutes). This makes it a favorite with homeowners seeking a fast solution to their septic frost issues.

Most septic tank heaters will fit into a 4-inch SDR 35. Persons seeking to use pipes with smaller or larger diameters can easily customize such to fit their septic tank heaters. This is made possible due to the availability of assorted designs.

It’s necessary to understand that septic tank heaters aren’t exclusive to septic tanks alone. These heaters can also be used on other septic system components.

Components such as the drain field and lift stations will work just fine with this heating device.

  • Picking Where To Install Heater

Where and how you install your septic tank heater is largely determined by exposure to harsh weather conditions. As mentioned earlier, the key areas are usually the tank, drain field, and lift station.

When vulnerable areas are usually between the house and the septic tank, then your heater will have to be installed over the septic tank.

For drain fields having frost issues, septic heater installation should be done over the first drain field dropbox. That should be sufficient enough to keep out heat.

When frost issues are mostly around the lift station area, septic tank heater installation should be made over the lift station. Certain scenarios may require the adoption of a different approach.

Whatever it is, a septic expert should be involved in the process.

In other words, such a septic technician should handle the installation job. The benefit of an experienced technician is that frost issues are better handled.

Types Of Septic Tank Heaters

Septic tank heaters belong to two broad categories. They include automatic and semi-automatic.

Automatic septic tank heaters will be triggered when a sensor detects a drop in temperature. This system is programmed to come on and off based on temperature conditions.

You won’t have to worry about your septic system while away.

This ensures favorable temperatures are kept within acceptable limits. Semi-automatic septic tank heaters on the other hand allow for manual control. Some degree of manual control is necessary.

Manual control in this sense refers to your ability to set the time or periods within which the septic heater would come on and off. Asides from these slight differences between automatic and semi-automatic heaters, there’s no other major distinguishing factor.

Must I Use a Septic Tank Heater?

No, you mustn’t!

Alternatives to septic tank heaters include insulation which can be achieved by growing a blanket of grass or lawn over septic system components like the drain field. Asides from growing vegetation, you can mulch your septic tank area using either leaves or hay.

A thick layer of mulch material spread over the tank area should serve the purpose of insulation.

However, following this procedure is labor-intensive. Septic tank heater use is a more practical and fast solution to frost issues. Whatever the case may be, you are left with making such decisions.

Some Caution About Septic Tank Heaters

Before installing your septic tank heater, you must ensure your septic system is fully functional.

In other words, your septic system must have no issues as it could affect heater efficiency. A safety measure you shouldn’t ignore involves filling water across all traps such as those in kitchens, toilets, and bathrooms.

Doing so ensures that gases do not escape into your home. This is essential as such gases and odors are not only unpleasant but dangerous.

As discussed so far, septic tank heaters are important devices that help prevent frost conditions.

This is a worthwhile investment as your septic system is kept functional and running optimally irrespective of prevalent harsh weather conditions.

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