chemical drain cleaner issues

Chemical Drain Cleaner Issues and Alternatives, Part 1

Nearly all homeowners and residents have experienced at least one clogged drain in their lives, and these are never fun occasions. Drain clogs may arise for several reasons, from basic blockages from items to issues with the main sewer line and other more significant problems, and while some are luckily remedied using nothing but a plunger, others may require more dedicated efforts.

At Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric, we’re happy to provide professional drain cleaning services in addition to our numerous plumbing and HVAC solutions. We’ve handled a huge variety of drain clogs, from minor blockages to full sewer clogs that require major cleaning methods. One area we preach caution in to all our clients: The use of chemical drain cleaners for drain clogs. This two-part blog series will focus on the issues with chemical drain cleaners and the problems they often pose, plus some alternatives for DIY cleaning and some other basic themes to consider.

Plumbing Pipe Damage

For starters, while chemical drain cleaners claim to benefit your pipes by clearing them of certain blockages or clogs, they may actually cause more harm than they do good. This is because many chemicals found in these cleaners are directly harmful to plumbing drain materials – namely hydrochloric acid, the primary chemical in many such solutions.

This acid damages pipes in multiple ways. For one, it eats away at pipe materials the longer it sits – and there’s no way for you to know whether traces of the chemical remain and sit for hours and even days once poured down your drain. For another, hydrochloric acid also chews off enamel and other finishes from your kitchen, bathroom or any other room where you’re pouring this cleaner.

Toxicity and Environment

In addition to potentially damaging pipes, these cleaners may also be dangerous to both humans and the environment. Fumes from commercial drain cleaners, especially generic and cheaper brands, are often highly toxic – inhaling them will lead to eye and nose irritation plus potential respiratory concerns for some people.

On top of all this, these cleaners are bad for the environment. They leave residue in bottles that end up in landfills, sometimes entering local water supplies or other environmental areas and creating poisoning risks for wildlife.

Cleaner Efficiency

Finally, there are a number of situations where these chemical drain cleaners simply won’t work. Chemicals aren’t going to solve a backed-up sewer line, for instance, and they also won’t do anything about broken or cracked pipes that are causing similar issues. Even for clog types they’re ostensibly supposed to handle, they often don’t work as advertised and will leave part or all of a blockage intact, wasting the money you spent on them.

For more on the issues with chemical drain cleaners, or to learn about any of our drain cleaning or other plumbing and HVAC services, speak to the staff at Action Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electric today.