February 2

Chemical Drain Cleaners: What Are the Dangers of Using Them?

Top brands have been promoting chemical drain cleaners as a convenient solution for clearing your drains for years.

But are they effective and safe to use?

In this article, we will consider the application of chemical drain cleaners and alternatives for your plumbing.

Chemical Cleaners and Their Limits

The accumulation of hair, grease, and debris can block and damage your plumbing.

Chemical drain cleaners can clear the softer clogs by dissolving them into soluble compounds. But it can only eliminate such obstructions if they are closer to the drain’s opening.

Mechanical augers can clear drains that are up to eight meters into the pipe.

But they also have drawbacks such as scratching the surface of the piping or fixture.

Chemical drain cleaners are ineffective for stubborn clogs containing solid materials.

Unfortunately, many homeowners are not aware of this fact, and as a result, they think that the solution to stubborn clogs is to pour more or a different drain cleaner.

However, in such instances, it is advisable to consult a residential plumber.

Both alkaline and acidic formulas can react with the metal within the pipe.

The process may generate gas, which may increase pressure within the plumbing. Again, the chemical reaction will eat at the inner layer of your piping, leaving it prone to leaks.

These leaks then go on to waste up to 90 gallons of water per day per household.

Drain Cleaning and Safety

You must always apply caution when you decide to use chemical solutions for drain cleaning. These products may contain sulfuric acid or sodium hypochlorite.

When these compounds react with metal, they generate toxic fumes that can irritate your skin and eyes.

The harmful gases these chemicals generate can escape to other parts of your home. In turn, the high temperatures from the reaction can weaken plastic piping and introduce pollutants into the water supply. 

The chemicals will eventually get to the groundwater system and pollute the environment.

If you have a septic tank, it is better to consider calling plumbing services. Acids and alkaline solutions can kill the bacteria that facilitate the decomposition of the organic compounds.

The drain field will be overwhelmed by the waste, and you may experience sewer backups.

Alternative to Drain Cleaners

Cabling is one of the alternative solutions a residential plumber can provide and involves passing a chain through the piping to loosen the obstructions.

It is usually ideal for getting rid of clogs for the short term.

However, hydro-jetting is the best alternative for clearing your drain.

A plumbing contractor will force a jet of water at very high pressure through your plumbing.

It does not involve chemicals or mechanical devices and is, therefore, safe for your home.

Another advantage of hydro-jetting is that it’s an affordable solution for clearing your pipes. It can remove bacteria and stubborn clogs, such as tree roots.

Chemical drain cleaners are only useful for soft clogs, and they can be hazardous to your plumbing and your health.

If you have stubborn clogs, you should consider other options, such as cabling and jetting.

Residential plumbers can provide long-term and cost-effective solutions to protect your home’s plumbing.


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