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The Case Against Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaning products are advertised as a quick and easy solution to common plumbing clogs in your home. But are they really as safe and efficient as they claim to be?

There’s a big reason why professional plumbers not only refuse to use these products in their customers’ homes, but also in their own homes: they aren’t as helpful as the advertisements say they are. Powerful chemicals do not always equal a strong and permanent solution, and can instead end up doing more harm than good to your plumbing.

A person pouring drain cleaners into a sink

How Chemical Drain Cleaners Work

Drain cleaners can be purchased from your local grocery or hardware store, and are typically pretty affordable for the average homeowner. These cleaners come in gel, liquid, powder, and crystal forms. However, they all tend to work the same way: when applied to a clogged drain, these products react with electrons in the blockage, which generates heat and gas that dissolves the clog and clears the drain.

How Chemical Drain Cleaners Cause Damage

Since these harsh cleaners rely on extremely powerful chemicals like peroxide, bleach, and lye to do the dirty work, their toxicity levels are high which makes them extremely hazardous, and potentially fatal if inhaled or ingested. If these chemicals come in contact with the skin, they can cause serious burns as well.

And if these cleaners can hurt your skin, you can bet they’ll hurt your pipes as well. The chemicals cannot tell the difference between the debris causing the blockage and the actual pipes, so their job is simply to eat away at whatever they come in contact with. Older, more worn out pipes are much more susceptible to damage with chemical drain cleaners, so if your plumbing has been in your home for a long time, you’re risking a lot by using these dangerous cleaners.

The Alternatives to Chemical Drain Cleaners

Unless you can physically see the debris that is clogging your drain, you cannot be certain that a clog is what’s causing your drain to back up. Broken pipes and sewer line problems can cause the same symptoms as clogs, and will obviously not be remedied with chemical drain cleaners. Try using a snake or plunger to confirm that there is debris and attempt to remove it by hand.

For small clogs, home remedies like baking soda and white vinegar can help to dislodge the debris and clear the drain. Anything beyond these simple DIY efforts should always be left to the professionals. It’s important to remember that chemical drain cleaners are risky and should not be your go-to solution when you find yourself with a clogged drain in your home.

Looking for a professional plumber in Carroll County, MD? Here at Michael Runk Plumbing and Heating, we pride ourselves on providing expert plumbing services at honest and fair prices. Contact us today for more information!

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