One of the most common questions asked of plumbers is, “Is it safe to use a chemical drain cleaner on a clogged drain?” The short answer is that it’s best to avoid using these products. If you have a major clog, a chemical drain cleaner won’t be very effective. You’ll need to call in a plumber to take a look at the problem. A licensed plumber can use a snake or hydrojetting equipment to clear away the clog without dumping harmful chemicals into your system. Here’s a quick look at exactly why it’s best to avoid using a chemical drain cleaner whenever possible.
It isn’t safe to keep a chemical drain cleaner around kids and pets.
Curious kids and pets have a tendency to get themselves into trouble. When chemicals are involved, the results can be catastrophic. Even if you take precautions to childproof your home when you have a baby or toddler, it’s difficult to eliminate access to every possible object that could pose a threat. Chemical drain cleaners are highly toxic for both humans and pets. It’s best to avoid keeping these products in your home, just in case of accidental exposure.
A chemical drain cleaner can’t handle tough clogs.
You might think that a chemical concoction that is highly toxic to human health would be effective at its job. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. People who use a chemical drain cleaner often find themselves dumping in more than the recommended amount. They often have to repeat the process several times. And even then, the clog might not be fully broken up. The chemical breakdown of clogs simply can’t compete with the methods that a licensed plumber can use to get rid of clogs.
A chemical drain cleaner can’t diagnose major plumbing problems.
In the bathroom, hairballs are a common culprit of slow-draining tubs and sinks. In the kitchen sink, the clogs are typically food-related. However, some plumbing problems have nothing to do with hairballs or food waste. A slow-draining sink or a complete obstruction can sometimes be caused by a major issue, such as tree roots growing into the sewer line. In this case, dumping a chemical cleaner down the drain won’t solve the problem. In fact, it will only contribute to the backup of wastewater.
Licensed plumbers are trained to figure out the root cause of a problem, much like how doctors prefer to treat the cause of a medical condition, rather than the symptoms alone. The plumber can send down a tiny video camera on a line to find the source of the obstruction and figure out what’s going on. If the problem is a broken pipe or tree roots growing into the sewer line, the plumber can explain your options for trenchless sewer repair.
A chemical drain cleaner can be harmful for the pipes and system.
The chemicals that commercial drain cleaners use are very strong, caustic compounds. These concoctions often include hydrochloric acid and other severely acidic substances. The instructions on a drain cleaner product will typically tell you to pour a certain amount down the drain and wait a while before flushing the pipe with water.
During that time, the caustic chemicals will coat the interior of the pipe, eating away at the inner surfaces. With repeated use of a chemical drain cleaner, the pipe can become weakened and brittle in some areas. This increases the risk of micro-fractures. In other words, your pipes may spring a leak, which can cause significant water damage to your home and possessions. Plus, you’ll likely end up paying more in plumbing repairs than you would have paid for a licensed plumber to unclog your drain.
A chemical drain cleaner can adversely affect your respiratory system.
Chemical drain cleaners aren’t just harmful for your plumbing system; they are also harmful for your own respiratory system. If you’ve ever opened a bottle of chemical drain cleaner, you already know how pungent they can smell.
Each time you smell these chemicals, you’re actually inhaling tiny particles of the chemicals themselves. This can negatively affect your respiratory health. This is particularly true if you have a pre-existing health condition, such as asthma or COPD.
If you have a slow drain or a completely obstructed drain, call the licensed plumbers at Intelligent Design right away. We arrive with fully stocked trucks, ready to tackle the problem at its source no matter what’s causing the obstruction. Before we leave, we can recommend an enzyme cleaner product designed to address the gunk and other accumulation on the insides of pipes. This allows you to avoid future drain clogs without the use of a chemical drain cleaner! If you have a plumbing problem in Tucson, Marana, or the surrounding areas, call our friendly office staff at (520) 462-1538. We are available any time of the day or night to help!