Septic Tank Not Draining Fast Enough (How To Fix)

This article may contain some affiliate links and if you make a purchase after clicking on any of teh links, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Telling the difference between a clogged drain and a clogged septic tank issue can be quite confusing as both issues tend to be very similar. But, the ability to tell one from another will help you stay on top of plumbing issues in the home.

What are the things that make septic tanks not drain as fast as they should and how can they be fixed?

You’ll be knowing all this and more by the end of this article.

Let’s go!

How To Fix A Slow-Draining Septic Tank

We would usually advise that you call a septic tank maintenance expert to get this sorted because of how delicate the septic tank is. 

However, we’ll be giving out a DIY trick using very simple household products that you can try before resorting to an expert.

Ingredients needed for this procedure include:

Baking soda (half cup)

White vinegar (half cup)


Step 1: Take half cup each of white vinegar and baking soda and mix them. Next, you are to pour your mixture into the drain.

Step 2: Wait for about 2 – 3 minutes after pouring the solution, then pour hot water into the drain, just like you are rinsing it.

The obstruction should have been cleared by now, but if it isn’t, contact a septic expert.

What you should not do when your septic tank is not draining fast enough

A septic tank is very delicate and as such, when any issue arises with it, it is never a good idea to experiment with solutions that you are not sure of else, you might end up with a much bigger problem on your hands.

One of the things people are prone to do but they shouldn’t when they suspect a clog, is to try to clear it by sticking objects.

If you are not careful, you might end up damaging the pipes or anything else.

Another thing that you should not do is pour chemicals in there.

Firstly, you might not be able to tell if the chemical is harmful. Again, chemical use is not advised as they kill helpful bacteria in the septic tank.

See Also: What To Put in Septic Tank to Break Down Solids

What Makes A Septic Tank Not Drain Fast Enough?

A clog in the drains is usually the culprit.

When the drains are clogged, the result is not only a slow-draining septic tank but backups that lead to leakage and create a very unpleasant stench.

Clogged drains if not seen will result in further damage to the septic tank.

Practices that are likely to cause a clog are flushing of items that are not septic safe as well as FOGs – Fats, oil, and grease.

How To Know If There Is A Clog In Your Septic Tank

We will be letting you know easy pointers on how to differentiate between a clog in the pipe and that of a septic tank, so you know what to do.

The most reliable pointer that the clog is from the septic tank is the discovery that all the lower drains are slow at the same time.

We will explain further how this works: 

In cases of a septic tank backup, the effects will be seen first on the nearest drain to the septic tank. A closer look at the setup will show you that the lower drains are closest to it.

They do not just drain slowly, but you are likely to hear some very unfamiliar noise, like a gagging sound.

Now, what falls into these lower drains?

Places like toilets in the lowest rooms in the home, basement floor drains, etc.

See Also: Can You Flush Toilet While Septic Tank Is Being Pumped?

How To Prevent Clogs From  Occurring In Your Septic Tank

If you want your septic tank to drain fast and work optimally, you have to take care of it and prevent clogs as much as possible.

How then can you prevent clogs in septic tanks you may ask?

The best form of prevention is to see to the constant pumping of the tank.

Your plumber should be in the best place to tell you how often you should have your septic tanks pumped, but ideally, septic tanks are to be pumped every 3 – 5 years.

What happens when the septic tank backs up?

When a septic tank backs up, the drains are more than likely to be found clogged.

This is how it happens:

A septic tank is a holding tank located underground. One of its functions is to collect water waste from drains within the house.

This waste flows from the drains through the inlet usually found on the tank top connected to a pipe that leads into a specific area in the building known as the drain field.

There is a point that the water on the septic tank would get to that would signal the drain to swing into action to take the water out of the tank and onto the ground surrounding it.

The water is fairly clean because the soil takes out all of the bacteria in the process of filtering it.

Slow draining of the septic tank occurs when the pipe that leads to the drain field gets clogged thereby, making the septic tank unable to drain the water as it fills.

As a result of this development, fixtures within the home will no longer be able to drain fast. It becomes even worse when the septic tank gets completely clogged, water will then back up into the house as quickly as it creeps up the main line. 

See Also: Best Toilet Papers For Septic Tank


We often say that proper maintenance of a septic tank will see it serve you without issues. But, we also know that clogs will happen accidentally from time to time even in the best-maintained septic tanks.

All the same, we’ll advise that you keep calm whenever your septic tank develops draining issues and avoid gambling with solutions that you’re not sure of.

We say this so as for you to avoid creating an even bigger problem that would require higher funds to resolve.

Clogs are often difficult to reach by people other than the experts and so, contacting the experts would be the thing for you to do.