How to Unclog Your Septic System


When your septic system backs up, you might be tempted to call in a professional to repair the problem right away, but that can be expensive. According to, a septic system can cost between $2,500 to $4,500 to replace. Before you seek help from the professionals, consider trying to unclog the septic system yourself. It might be easier than you anticipate.

  • Hire someone to look at your septic system. A formal inspection can cost $100 to $200, depending on the company. You can then decide whether to try a repair yourself. While the inspection bill may seem significant, consider that a repair can cost $1,000 or more. Replacing a system could cost several times that amount.

  • Purchase bacteria. Septic system bacteria can be found on the Internet or at a home repair store. Add it to the septic system following supplier's directions. Unclogging the system can take three or four days to a week or more, depending on the size of the clog and how long the septic tank has been clogged.

  • Avoid chemicals. Using chemicals may be tempting, but they do not eat the sludge like bacteria. Rather, chemicals loosen clogs and tend to force them farther into the septic system, making the problem harder to reach. If you must hire a professional to unclog your septic system, the job can be more expensive to do so if the clog is farther away.

  • Call a repair company if all else fails. Get estimates and check on any consumer complaints filed against the companies you consider for the job.

Tips & Warnings

  • Minimize the use of antibacterial products, which can make it difficult for septic bacteria to do their job.
  • Don't flush anything that is not organic. Septic bacteria only eat organic substances.
  • Use septic bacteria on a monthly basis to prevent clogs from forming.

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