Why Chemical Drain Cleaning Is Bad for Your Plumbing

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Chemical drain cleaning may seem like a quick and easy solution to a stubborn clog. But is this the best approach for clearing the pipes in your kitchen, bathroom or laundry room?

chemical drain cleaning

You’ll never catch a professional plumber using one of these products in their home, as they can do more harm than good. So, rather than reaching for one of these chemical products, take a look at some professional plumber tips on how to manage plumbing clogs.

How Chemical Drain Cleaning Works

Drain cleaners area available in liquid, gel, foam, crystal and powder forms, but they all essentially work in the same way.

Once applied to a clogged drain, these products react with electrons in the blockage. This reaction generates heat and gas, which dissolves the clog and clears the drain.

Household drain cleaners rely on powerful chemicals, such as lye, caustic potash, peroxide or bleach. Because of their high toxicity levels, they are hazardous – and potentially fatal – if inhaled or swallowed. They will also cause serious burns if allowed contact with the skin.

How Drain Cleaners Cause Plumbing Damage

As much as they can harm the human body, chemical drain cleaners can also hurt your pipes.

Drain cleaners aren’t smart – they can’t tell the difference between the debris blocking the plumbing system and the pipes. So, they eat away at everything.

The plumbing damage is worse if the cleaner fails to clear your clogged drain. In that case, the caustic chemicals are left sitting in your pipes. The longer they sit, the more opportunity they have to wreak havoc.

Older pipes and those made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) are more susceptible to damage from drain cleaners, but no plumbing system is safe from the effects of toxic chemicals.

Use too much of these products and you may find yourself facing expensive plumbing pipe repairs or replacement.

Better Ways to Manage Plumbing Clogs

Chemical drain cleaning may work to clear very small plumbing clogs, but they don’t work all that well for most blocked drains.

Also consider the possibility that your backed-up drains may not be the result of a blockage. If yours is caused by a broken pipe or a sewer line problem, chemicals certainly won’t fix the issue.

So, what should you do if you need to clear a plumbing clog?

Try using a plunger first. After that, you can try a sewer snake, or auger, available at any store that sells plumbing supplies. You can also rent one of these “pipe snakes” from your local big-box home improvement retailer or hardware store.

Simple home remedies may help clear some clogs. Try pouring a half cup each of baking soda and white vinegar down the drain. Block the sink and allow it to sit for at least half an hour, then follow with hot water.

If that doesn’t work, stop the DIY efforts and call your plumber. Letting an expert handle your clogged drain can save you from worrying about future plumbing problems.

Instead of taking a risk with chemical drain cleaning, give American Plumbing a call. Our expert team can clear your clog quickly and easily, without damaging your pipes. For a free plumbing estimate, contact our Provo, Utah, office today.