Learn everything you need to know on how to unclog a septic tank drain pipe with these easy-to-follow step-by-step directions anyone can follow.
A septic tank is the most integral part of any property as it connects your home’s plumbing system. Many of us neglect or overlook cleaning our septic tanks, leading to expensive problems. Cleaning your septic tank keeps the water sources and the surrounding environment safe and clean.
You use your bathrooms daily but disregard the underground structure to keep your water sources running efficiently. Solid materials and sludge used in your daily everyday routines can easily build up inside your septic tank and create several types of drainage problems.
If you’re experiencing a slow drainage system or your toilets, showers, and sinks are not working effectively, it might be possible that your drain or septic tank is clogged. It is crucial to take reliable actions when you notice even minor signs of a clogged septic tank; otherwise, it can lead to expensive plumbing bills.
You can unclog your septic tank on your own or hire a professional to perform this task. Unclogging a septic tank on your own is not that hard, and it can save you from paying a super high bill in the future.
If your septic tank is clogged, worry no more; we have got you covered. In this article, we will cover some natural treatments for how to unclog a septic tank drain pipe easily, and some tips to avoid costly septic tank problems for yourself in the future.
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Septic System Problems That Can Mimic Drain Clogs
If you’re experiencing water pooling in your yard or any bad odors near your septic tank, it might be possible that your septic tank drain pipe is clogged. Here are some problems that can show symptoms similar to drain clogs.
- Clogged Outlet Pipe Baffle
Your main septic tank mainly has two sources for wastewater drainage: an outlet pipe baffle and an inlet baffle. The outlet baffle keeps the solid material and sludge from traveling down to the leach field. These solid materials can cause a clogged leach field if they enter the leach field.
If any baffle outlet or inlet is clogged, it can prevent wastewater from draining completely and slow the drains. You can’t clear these types of clogs on your own; you need a professional septic service contractor to clear the clogs.
- High Level Of Water In Septic Tank
If you notice that your full septic tank has water above the normal operating level, you may have a clogged leach field or drain pipe.
- Clogged Septic Tank
The solid materials used in your everyday routines can cause blockages and slow drains if placed in the sink, garbage disposal, toilet, or shower. To avoid drainage problems, check that the toilet paper you’re using is septic-friendly, and don’t put anything that can’t break down easily in the septic tank or nature into the drains.
- Damaged Drain Pipe
The sewer pipe in your septic tank is the main septic tank drain field transporting grey water from the house to the septic tank. If you have planted trees near your septic tank, the tree roots can block the sewer line. Some other factors such as earth movement caused by heavy equipment and earthquakes can also cause damage to the main sewer pipe. You need to hire a septic professional to determine if there is a problem with your sewer pipeline.
- Drainfield Failure
Your septic tank has a limited lifespan, but some property owners do not realize this. The leach field, an integral part of a septic tank, can last for one to two decades based on where it lies and how much water you consume.
Drain line failure occurs due to backups getting into the main septic line or too much solid material, sludge, or grease clogging up into the drain pipe. Driving heavy vehicles, cars, or trucks over the leach field can cause Drainfield failure. If the leach field of the septic tank is damaged, it will not be able to process hot water or cold water for that matter from the septic tank. This will lead to slower drains and eventually an overflow in the septic tank itself.
How To Unclog Your Septic Tank A Step By Step Guide
Fortunately, several ways can help remove clogs from your septic tank without calling a septic professional plumber. First, look for any solid material or clogs inside the septic tank and check whether you can pull them out. You can use a mechanical drill/auger to clear the clogs deeper inside the septic tank. After unclogging the septic tank drain pipe, ensure regular maintenance and clearance to avoid future drainage problems.
Here we will discuss two different ways to unclog the septic tank effectively. Let’s start exploring how to unclog a septic tank drain pipe on your own.
How To Unclog A Septic Tank Drain Pipe Method-1: Clearing The accessible Clogs
Breaking apart septic system backups and clogs can help clear blockages of the septic tank and normalize the flow of water into your drain field system. You must follow these easy-to-follow steps to break apart accessible clogs from a septic tank.
- Lift Access Lid Of Septic Tank
Lift the access lid of the septic tank nearest your house to determine if the inlet baffle has any problem. Carefully open the access lid with a pry bar and off the tank to check if anything is blocking the inlet baffle. Inspect the green or white pipe into the septic tank nearest to your house. If you notice anything clogging the inlet baffle, it can cause severe drainage problems. Check the level of the water in your septic tank and;
- If you notice that the water is not above from inlet baffle, then the blockage lies in the pipe near your home.
- The blockage may lie in the tank’s leach field if the water level is high in the inlet baffle/pipe.
- Remove The Scum A.S.A.P. to prevent septic system backups.
A solid layer of solid waste material known as scum can build up on the top of the pipe of the septic tank. Push this layer away with the help of a wood stick or pole if it is clogging the inlet baffle. You can use a strong and long object to remove the scum from the inlet baffle. Continue pushing the scum until the water starts flowing from the pipeline. You’re advised to wear gloves to unclog the septic tank to avoid bacteria or harmful waste.
- Scrap The Ends Of The Pipeline
If the blockage lies deeper inside the septic tank, feed the wood stick into one end of the inlet pipe as deep as possible. Use the ends of the wood stick to scrap both edges of the pipeline and pull solid materials into the septic tank. You can easily break the clog apart if it lies at the end of the water pipe. The blockage is deep inside the septic tank if the water doesn’t flow out even after pulling the waste from the main sewer line.
- Disinfect The Tools
After unclogging the septic tank, disinfect the tools you use as soon as possible. Take 1 part of chlorine bleach in a bucket and mix it with five parts of water. Put the tools you used to unclog the tank in the bucket and leave them for about 8-10 minutes. Pour the solution into the septic tank to kill bacteria and other hazardous chemicals.
P.S. You can also use baking soda and a cup of vinegar or white vinegar and get the same results as the chlorine bleach directions we talked about above.
- Place The Lid Back On The Hole Of The Septic Tank
Put the lid back on the septic tank when completely unclogged. Slowly put the lid down so it can cover the hole of the septic tank preventing a future septic tank problem.
How To Unclog A Septic Tank Drain Pipe Method-2: Unclogging Through A Mechanical Drill/Auger
If your house’s septic tank is not clogged after pulling any waste out, you can insert a mechanical drill into the tank to clear clogs. With the help of a mechanical drill, you can use the following steps on how to unclog a septic tank drain pipe.
- Remove The Access Lid Of The Septic Tank
A septic tank may have different access lids but remove the one nearest to your house. You can find the inlet baffle by removing the lid nearest your house. Lift the access lid of the septic tank by using a shovel or pry bar. Look inside the tank and check is anything clogging the tank’s green or white pipe.
If you cannot find the inlet baffle nearest to your house, call a septic professional or experienced plumber to check what is clogging the tank’s inlet baffle.
- Insert The Cutting Bit Of Mechanical Drill Into Your Pipeline
A mechanical drill comes with a metal cable that you can feed into your septic tank pipelines. The metal cable of the auger has a moving bit that can clear septic tank blockages and clogs inside the pipe. Feed the rotating blade of your mechanical drill inside the clogged pipe and push it about 1-3 feet.
You can easily find a mechanical drill from a nearby hardware store. You may ask the store owner to rent the drill out to you without paying the full payment of buying the equipment outright yourself.
- Wear Work Gloves & Safety Glasses
You might lose control of the mechanical auger. So, wear safety glasses to protect yourself from moving and rotating parts of the drill. Wearing gloves while unclogging the septic tank can save you from harmful bacteria and getting hurt when handling the auger. Plug the mechanical drill into the closest outlet and switch the button to the forward position. Be sure not to start the drill when the cutting blade is outside the pipe, as it can run violently.
- Keep Feeding The Mechanical Auger Into The Water Pipe
Keep feeding the drill until you encounter any solid material or resistance. Give back and forth strokes to the drill or pull and push it to make the clogs come apart. Continue forcing the drill into the pipeline until the septic tank clogs break apart and the water moves through the septic tank pipe normally.
If the clog is removed, the water flow will start from the pipe even when you have to drill inside it. But if you cannot unclog the pipe with the current mechanical auger, try another one of a longer size that can reach deeper inside the septic tank pipe.
- Switch The Mechanical Auger Off
To remove the auger from the septic tank pipeline, turn the power switch to the reverse or the offsetting. Please don’t pull the drill from the pipe when running, as it can cause severe injury.
After removing the mechanical auger from the septic tank pipeline, put the access lid back on the septic tank carefully. Put the access lid down slowly to ensure it covers the entire septic tank hole. When the septic tank is completely unclogged, disinfect all the tools you used to unclog the pipe with a solution of 1 part Chlorine bleach and five parts water.
Below are some helpful tips on how to unclog a septic tank drain pipe and prevent future septic tank clogs from happening in the first place.
How To Unclog A Septic Tank Drain Pipe Some Helpful Tips To Prevent Clogs In A Septic Tank
After unclogging a septic tank, you need to make sure your septic tank has regular maintenance to prevent your septic field from clogging in the future. The following tips will help your septic tank to remain free from blockages and clogs;
- Consume less water in your home because the high water consumption can cause the septic tank to fill up quickly.
- Go with more efficient systems such as toilets that flush less water; if you have leaking fixtures.
- Avoid putting too much solid waste such as wet wipes, paper towels, food scraps, and sludge in your drains, as they can cause the entire septic tank system to clog.
- Avoid planting trees over the area where your septic tank lies because tree roots can easily clog the water pipes.
- Don’t drive any heavy vehicle such as a car or truck over the area with your septic tank, as it can cause the septic tank to collapse.
- Call a septic professional or experienced professional plumber every three years to inspect the water levels and pipes of your septic tanks drainage system and ask them if you need to make any changes in your everyday routines.
How To Unclog A Septic Tank Drain Pipe Final Words
A septic tank is the main part of your house that controls your water flow. If you overlook or ignore the routine maintenance of your septic tank, it can cause expensive septic problems in the future such as clogging.
If the septic tank of your house is clogged, you can quickly unclog it on your own. We hope our step-by-step guide on how to unclog a septic tank drain pipe will help you clear the clogs of your tank easily.
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