Why You Shouldn’t Use Chemical Drain Cleaners in Your Home

If you’ve ever had a pesky clogged drain in your home, then you’ve probably found yourself taking a long, hard look at a selection of chemical drain cleaner products available on the shelves of most home improvement stores. After all, the idea of simply being able to pour some liquid down your drain, wait a little while, and then come back and your clog is gone seems like a stress-free and simple way to take care of this otherwise obnoxious problem. However, it sounds too good to be true, and that’s because it is. The cold reality of these liquids is that they’re actually far worse for your plumbing and your home than you might realize.

If you’ve always wondered why plumbers claim you should never use these liquids, then this blog is for you. We’ll take a look at a few of the most common reasons why you should not use these chemical drain cleaners to fix your drain problems and what you can and should do instead.

Chemical Drain Cleaners Destroy Drain Lines

Chemical drain cleaning products are usually an extremely strong acid or alkaline substance designed to quite literally eat away at whatever is blocking your drain line. By eating away at the blockage, particularly what is holding it to the wall of your drain line, the hope is that the blockage will become dislodged and flush itself the rest of the way down your drain. However, they don’t just eat away at the clog—they also eat away at everything else in your drain line, and even your drain line itself. Metal and plastic drains and pipelines have sustained serious damage from chemical drain cleaners, including damage that takes them to the point where they have to be completely and totally replaced. At that point, your seemingly easy and inexpensive drain cleaning becomes exponentially more expensive, as you need to have a new drain line installed.

Chemical Drain Cleaners Damage Plumbing Tools

Remember how we said that drain cleaners eat away at things indiscriminately? They also consume and eat away at plumbing tools. For example, if you use a drain cleaner and it doesn’t get rid of the problem, you may resort to the next step of using a snake or auger to try and dislodge the clog. At this point, leftover drain cleaner can damage the tool. For professionals like us, this is both frustrating and a huge cost for us to have to sustain. This is why we always advise customers not to use these cleaners and will often ask outright if you have used them before beginning our work. It’s best to be honest when we do, as it will help us to take the proper precautions when attacking your clog the right way.

Chemical Drain Cleaners Can Cause Injury

Chemical drain cleaners are so much more than just incredibly corrosive: they’re also toxic. Even a small amount of skin contact can cause chemical burns, eat through clothing, and potentially cause a medical emergency. Contact with the eyes can cause blindness in an extremely short amount of time. And accidentally ingesting a small amount can result in a rush to the emergency room. Nobody wants to have these types of substances lying around the house, particularly with young children. Do yourself a favor and skip them altogether.

Chemical Drain Cleaners Usually Don’t Eliminate the Whole Problem

Chemical drain cleaners also have one huge flaw that they don’t want you to know about: they may not even get rid of your problem. If your problem is in a drain line that runs horizontally, then gravity will naturally push your drain cleaner to the bottom of the line. The cleaner itself will slowly eat away a small hole in the line in order to allow the backed-up waste and water to flow through. Up at the top, it may appear as though the problem has been fixed because your sink suddenly drains again. However, down in the line, the truth is there’s simply a small hole in the clog that will soon be filled again by further waste. At this time, the problem comes back. And on top of that, the drain cleaner in your line has corroded part of your pipe and damaged it. That’s a terrible price to pay for a seemingly simple solution.

Trust a Professional Instead

What should you do instead? Call a professional—with the proper tools to get the job done, they’ll make sure your drains are not just cleared, but cleaned as well. Jetting is one of the most popular ways of dealing with clogs these days, as it is safe, all-natural, and extremely effective at eliminating clogs from virtually every type of drain line in your home. This process is fast, only uses water so it’s completely safe, and gets rid of not just your clog, but the remaining traces of any buildup or scale as well.

Got a clog problem? Call John Owens Services at (415) 942-6565 now to request a drain cleaning service.