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Old 01-09-2009, 08:26 AM
 
371 posts, read 1,030,988 times
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I hope I am posting this in the correct forum! We bought a house with a new septic system. The system has an electric pump that is in the ground. I have two questions-if it got cold enough could the electric pump ever actually freeze and stop working? The other question is that if you lose power its obvious we can't flush the toilets because of the electric pump, correct? We are on well too but its a community well which we share 7 wells with the neighborhood that the town maintains. I am assuming even on well you can't flush either right? Sorry if these questions seem stupid but we are new to the "country." My husband thought because we have oil heat the furnace would work in a power outage yeah he is a city boy! Why all these questions? Well we lost power for 4 hours the other night and all of this came to mind!
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Old 01-09-2009, 09:01 AM
 
Location: Northern MN
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I'm assuming you have a mound system. If this is the case, you should have a holding tank, normally 1500 gallons with a pump inside that pumps the water from your tank to your mound. If my assumptions are right, the only time the pump comes on is when the water in the tank reaches a certain level. If your septic system is operating correctly, it should never freeze. Bacteria from sewage keeps the water (and the tank) warm. Of course, there are some exceptions but a normal functioning system should never freeze. Of greater concern where I live is the drain field. If there isn't enough snow to insulate the drain field or if the field is installed incorrectly it doesn't take long for the drain field to freeze if you have drainage problems. Even if you lose your power, it shouldn't be a concern unless it is an extended amount of time and of course, like you pointed out...if you use well water you won't have water in the house anyway! You will be able to "flush" until the toilet tanks and expansion tanks are empty. Keep in mind, I live at the edge of nowhere where -20 below weather is not uncommon and in 15 years, I've never had a problem with my septic.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:14 AM
 
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I use a generator when the electric is out for my well pump.
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Old 01-09-2009, 11:55 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
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Always have two independent sources of heat. Get a propane heater or kerosene heater if you have to, but being cold and having pipes freeze in an extended power outage is not a good scenario.

You septic should be fine, as Delanyland stated. If you are concerned about water, save some. Flushing is optional during power outages.
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:21 PM
 
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I don't think its a mound system-maybe I need to call the guy who installed it to find out. I know the tank is a double chamber tank. I guess if it happens again we can only flush if really needed. As far as having a second form of heat, we have a wood burning stove that we turned on that night so we do have a back up-we just have to sleep in the family room downstairs.

So our wells are shared-there are 7 big big ones but I am sure we only have a small amount in reserves in each home. Mind you-once the power came back on I ran to take a quick shower in case it went out again-atleast I was clean Thanks all!
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomOfToo View Post
I don't think its a mound system-maybe I need to call the guy who installed it to find out. I know the tank is a double chamber tank. I guess if it happens again we can only flush if really needed. As far as having a second form of heat, we have a wood burning stove that we turned on that night so we do have a back up-we just have to sleep in the family room downstairs.

So our wells are shared-there are 7 big big ones but I am sure we only have a small amount in reserves in each home. Mind you-once the power came back on I ran to take a quick shower in case it went out again-atleast I was clean Thanks all!
It is odd they do not have back-up power for the wells. I would ask why not.
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Old 01-09-2009, 12:57 PM
 
Location: Pendleton County, KY
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If you have a multi-stage septic tank that feeds into a leech field, it's likely that the "pump" is actually an aerating system (feeds oxygen into the waste to sustain the bacteria that break the waste down). This is known as an aerobic septic system, as opposed to closed, anaerobic systems which are sealed and have bacteria that don't like oxygen. If you have an aerobic system, aerating pump can be shut down for a week, probably even longer, without causing any problems. It won't affect flushing or anything like that. We have this kind of system at our home.

Most aerating systems have a control box somewhere in which you can set the system to turn on and off for specific intervals (to save electricity). Ours is currently set to run for about 30 minutes, then turn off for about 15 min. Our control box is mounted on the inside wall of our garage. It has its own breaker, which occassionally has to be reset if our power goes out.

We get some pretty cold weather in the winter (it's about 20 degrees right now), and the aerator has never frozen up.

Does your septic tank have exposed concrete risers coming out of the ground? The motor would be sitting inside the riser from the liquid-waste tank, which is the last compartment before the waste exits to the leech field. The motor has a long post that extends into the water with some air-nozzles at the bottom. Looks sort of like a giant electric egg beater.

By the way, if this is the kind of system you have, you need to get it pumped out regularly to keep it operating correctly. Our needs pumping every 2-3 years.
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:00 PM
 
371 posts, read 1,030,988 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driller1 View Post
It is odd they do not have back-up power for the wells. I would ask why not.

Maybe they do-I don't know. We are new to the neighborhood and this was our first power outage. I have to ask the nieghbors.
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Old 01-09-2009, 05:03 PM
 
371 posts, read 1,030,988 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RuralGuy View Post
If you have a multi-stage septic tank that feeds into a leech field, it's likely that the "pump" is actually an aerating system (feeds oxygen into the waste to sustain the bacteria that break the waste down). This is known as an aerobic septic system, as opposed to closed, anaerobic systems which are sealed and have bacteria that don't like oxygen. If you have an aerobic system, aerating pump can be shut down for a week, probably even longer, without causing any problems. It won't affect flushing or anything like that. We have this kind of system at our home.

Most aerating systems have a control box somewhere in which you can set the system to turn on and off for specific intervals (to save electricity). Ours is currently set to run for about 30 minutes, then turn off for about 15 min. Our control box is mounted on the inside wall of our garage. It has its own breaker, which occassionally has to be reset if our power goes out.

We get some pretty cold weather in the winter (it's about 20 degrees right now), and the aerator has never frozen up.

Does your septic tank have exposed concrete risers coming out of the ground? The motor would be sitting inside the riser from the liquid-waste tank, which is the last compartment before the waste exits to the leech field. The motor has a long post that extends into the water with some air-nozzles at the bottom. Looks sort of like a giant electric egg beater.

By the way, if this is the kind of system you have, you need to get it pumped out regularly to keep it operating correctly. Our needs pumping every 2-3 years.

We haev a cement tank which is underground and the pump does have a cement cover. We have an alarm in the garage incase the pumo fails we know and have like 400 gallons of water we can use until it fails. We doplan on getting it pumped every two years-that we know.
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Old 01-09-2009, 08:20 PM
 
22,288 posts, read 17,441,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MomOfToo View Post
Maybe they do-I don't know. We are new to the neighborhood and this was our first power outage. I have to ask the nieghbors.
Did you have water when the power was out???
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