Are Chemical Drain Cleaners Bad for Plumbing?

January 20, 2021

A clogged drain can cause a major inconvenience. Plus, if the clog is severe enough, your drain may overflow and cause significant water damage to your home. To help prevent problems associated with a clogged drain, it’s important to understand the best methods to remove clogs from your pipes. One popular fix for clogged drains is to use a chemical drain cleaner. While these products might help remove the clog, they can cause damage to your Kanawha Valley home’s plumbing system as well. To understand the risks of using a chemical drain cleaner, check out this guide from Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling in South Charleston.

Chemical Reactions

When you use a liquid drain cleaner, it’s not the force of pouring the substance down the drain that removes the clog. Instead, it’s the chemical reaction that takes place between the cleaner and the debris in the clog that eventually dissolves the obstruction and moves it out of the way. However, chemical reactions, especially uncontrolled chemical reactions that happen out of sight, can have some unexpected outcomes.

For example, one common way that chemical drain cleaners remove clogs is by creating heat to help liquify grease so that a clog will move out of the drain line. However, if the clog is especially stubborn, the heat-creating reaction may continue in that single spot for quite some time. This ongoing heat-creating reaction could spell disaster for some types of pipes, meaning that you could end up with a bigger problem than you started with.

Chemicals Linger in the System

Another problem with using chemical drain cleaners is that residue from them may stick around for some time. This is because a chemical drain cleaner typically doesn’t clean a drain as thoroughly as a mechanical option would.

Therefore, some of the drain cleaner can remain in your drains long after the clog has been cleared. This poses a problem if you pour other types of chemicals down your drain later. The various chemicals mixing together could cause an unexpected reaction that’s quite violent and dangerous. The best solution is to thoroughly flush your drains if you do decide to use a chemical drain cleaner.

Harmful to Humans

Along with being harmful to your pipes, chemical drain cleaners can be harmful to humans as well. The caustic chemicals in drain cleaners can cause chemical burns on your skin, blindness and severe side effects if the drain cleaner is ingested. This means that you have to be extremely careful when working with these products.

Plus, you have to store drain cleaners out of the reach of pets and children to ensure that they aren’t accidentally dispensed. All in all, you need to use a lot more care with chemical drain cleaners than you would with a mechanical solution employed by professionals.

Harmful to the Environment

Even if you’re successful in removing your clog without causing damage to yourself or your drainpipe, the problems associated with chemical drain cleaners aren’t over. The powerful substances in chemical drain cleaners can have a negative impact on the environment, doing great harm to local aquatic wildlife. Compared to other drain-cleaning methods such as using all-natural ingredients or hydro-jetting, using chemical drain cleaners is by far the least environmentally-friendly method of removing a clog.

All-Natural Drain Cleaning

The good news is that there are other options besides chemical drain cleaners to help your drains flow freely again. Baking soda and vinegar are two powerful options to help you regain control of your home’s plumbing system. You can use boiling water to loosen up grease and follow it with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to break up the clog, Finish with more boiling water to wash the clog away.

In many cases, this method is just as effective as using a chemical drain cleaner. Of course, if you aren’t able to remove the clog using an all-natural method, the next step is to call a professional from Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling to eliminate the clog for you.

Taking Care of Business

At Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling, we’re fully prepared to take on any plumbing challenge that you face. We can repair pipes, install water heaters, replace toilets and much more. In fact, we handle the complete spectrum of plumbing issues. Plus, we can maintain, repair and install HVAC equipment and take on home remodeling projects. We’ve been proudly serving South Charleston and the Kanawha Valley for over 40 years, and our customers know they can trust us to treat them with respect every time they have a need. To learn more about the services we offer, contact us at Mullen Plumbing, Heating and Cooling today.

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