There are many homes in the United States that are on a septic tank system. Unfortunately, not many people know how to properly clean their septic system or their drains when they are on a septic system. This is especially true if you are accustomed to a city sewer system or something similar. If you find yourself on a septic tank system and you need to perform drain cleaning, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Here are some dos and don'ts to get you started.
Do Use Septic Tank Approved Cleaners
This may seem like a basic thing, but if you are not used to the labeling or looking for the specific septic tank label, then you may not think about it. If you use a drain cleaning agent that is not designed for septic tanks, you could end up damaging your septic system, which can lead to a costly repair. You may also end up with having a drainage issue in the septic tank itself. Make sure that when you are buying a drain cleaning agent, you are getting one that is either specifically for septic tanks or has a septic tank approved statement on the side of the packaging or bottle.
Do Check for Other Drainage Backup
Before you begin working on the clog that requires drain cleaning, check the other drains as well. You can do this several ways, but one way to check your other drains is to flush a toilet or drain a washing machine. Listen for gurgles and look for water backing up into to tubs, showers, and sinks throughout the house. This can help you determine if you have a drain issue with just one set of pipes or if it is a major clog located between several pipe junctions. Once you know this you will know if you need to clean one drain or do a flush of the entire pipe system.
Do Not Use Baking Soda Mixes
One of the key methods listed on social media for cleaning clogged drains is to use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. Though this may work on a sewer system, it is not suitable for a septic tank system. The mixture of baking soda and vinegar can cause the baking soda to crystalize in the pipes or down the drain line. If this happens in your septic system, it can cause major blockages and possible pipe breaks.
Do Not Use Drain Openers
Before you use a drain opener, many of which have a gel-like consistency, try other non-chemical methods. One of these methods is to use a drain snake. The snake will help pull out the clog and allow you to clean the drain with a septic friendly cleaner. If the snake does not work, do not reach for a gel drain opener as these gels can cause problems in the septic tank, including hardening around grease and other components and preventing them from breaking down properly during routine drain cleaning with septic tank cleaners.
These are just a few of the dos and don'ts of drain cleaning on a septic tank system. Keep in mind, if you are having major back up issues with drains in your home, you may want to call your septic tank technician to clear the clog and check your system. Sometimes issues with multiple pipes backing up can be caused by a blocked septic tank and not just in the pipes.