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Why Drain Cleaners Hurt, Not Help

Why Drain Cleaners Hurt, Not Help

Few plumbing problems are more obnoxious than a drain that won't drain. The last thing anyone wants is dirty, stagnant water sitting in their tub or sink, so when that water refuses to go down the drain, many people's first instinct is to reach for the nearest bottle of storebought drain cleaner and dump it down their pipes. However, doing so can spell trouble for your pipes in the long run.

How Chemical Drain Cleaners Work

The most common kinds of liquid drain cleaners are chemical solutions that are typically either highly basic (like lye or sodium hydroxide) or highly acidic (like sulfuric acid or hydrochloric acid). Both of these create strong chemical reactions when they come in contact with a blockage in your plumbing. Eventually, the reaction will break down the blockage until it can be rinsed away- or at least reduce it in size enough to remedy the drainage issue at least temporarily. And generally, people feel that if it works, it works! So... what's the problem?

Why That's A Problem

While using drain cleaners may seem like a cheap, quick, and effective solution, it may be doing a lot more harm than good in the long run for several reasons.

  • Drain Cleaners Don't Just Eat Through Blockages: Oftentimes, there's enough cleaner left over after it's reacted with the blockage in your pipes. These caustic or acidic cleaners can also eat into your pipes, slowly compromising them. If you've got brand-new plumbing, you probably won't see serious harm from occasional use, but frequently relying on chemical cleaners is a fast track to plumbing problems
  • Exothermic Reactions: Acidic cleaners also generate exothermic, or heat-producing, reactions while burning through the blockage. The heat from this reaction can be intense, and can further weaken or warp your plumbing in addition to the chemical damage.
  • Health Concerns: Both acidic and basic cleaners are incredibly harmful if they come into contact with eyes or skin, or if swallowed or inhaled. Anytime you use these, you risk coming into contact with these harmful chemicals. Additionally, mixing these chemicals can produce extremely dangerous, life-threatening reactions, too.

Making Better Choices For Your Plumbing

The safer choice for both your plumbing and your health is to ditch the chemical drain cleaner and opt for non-caustic drain cleaning options. You may have DIY success by using a drain snake to dislodge blockages in your plumbing- but if your at-home drain cleaning attempts aren't producing results, it may be time to call in a plumber.

Professional plumbers use equipment like motorized drain snakes, augers, and even hydro-jets to remove stubborn obstacles without resorting to chemical cleaners. Not only can they ensure that the blockage is fully removed, not just partially dissolved, but the chemical-free cleaning method is just better for your pipes in the long run. For safe and effective drain cleaning in Vacaville, Heritage Plumbing is the plumber you can rely on. To get in touch with our team, call us at 707-631-1047.