No matter how careful you are with your drains and what you put down them, you will inevitably have to deal with a clog at some point. Many homeowners choose the convenience of a liquid drain cleaner, such as Drano, to clear their pipes. However, is Drano safe for your septic system over the long-term?

What Is A Septic System?

A septic system is a tank underground at your home or business that holds waste. Many can hold up to 1,000 gallons of water, though the sizes vary. For some people, septic systems are more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than the public sewer system. If you aren’t sure, check to see how your property manages waste.

Bacteria play an essential role in treating the wastewater in your septic tank. They feed off the solids and begin the decomposition process. To keep the system working, you need the bacteria to stay in balance. If they become unbalanced, the waste—AKA sludge—at the bottom will begin to build up.

How Drano Affects Your Septic System

Since septic systems need bacteria to continue functioning correctly, you should be mindful of what you put down your drain. Drano’s manufacturers claim that this product is safe for septic systems, but most experts aren’t so sure. Drano contains bleach, aluminum, and salt. Those chemicals do burn away clogs, but they may also harm your good bacteria.

Most plumbers advise against using this drain cleaner for any clogs in your home. When the bacteria are destroyed:

  • Sludge will accumulate in your septic tank
  • Sewage could back up into your home
  • Solids may enter your drain field

If you don’t handle this build up quickly, all of these issues could lead to complete system failure.

Other Methods For Unclogging a Drain

When you have a clog, you can always call a professional to make sure you fix the problem appropriately. There are also septic-safe ways to unclog your drain, including:

  • Boiling water. One of the easiest ways to clear a clog is to boil water and pour it down the affected pipe.  This method will work best for minor clogs caused by soap or grease.
  • Physical removal. If there is hair or a larger blockage in the drain, you can use a plunger, plumber’s snake, or wand to dislodge the clog.
  • Vinegar and baking soda. The chemical reaction between vinegar and baking soda can unclog drains. Just put a little vinegar down the drain and follow it with a splash of vinegar. Then, wait 30 minutes and flush it with hot water.

Maintaining Your Septic System

Regularly maintaining your septic system will help you avoid costly repairs. For the best upkeep, you want to:

  • Avoid pouring frying oils and grease down the drain
  • Inspect your system at least once a year
  • Have professionals clean out your septic tank every three years

It’s easy to rely on a cleaner like Drano to solve your drain problems, but it may not be the best idea in the long run.

If you need to fix a septic backup, call Front Range Septic today at 970-302-0457.