Keeping Your Plumbing Flowing Smoothly

If you deal with plumbing clogs on a regular basis, you might find yourself struggling with bent wire hangers, chemical drain cleaner, and unfamiliar pipes. Unfortunately, unless you are a trained professional, all of your efforts might be in vain. Most people don't realize it, but it is possible to damage your plumbing by making a few missteps. If you use the wrong chemicals or you push a little too hard, you might end up dealing with damaged pipes or your clogging problem could get worse. Fortunately, you might be able to use this blog to help you to keep your plumbing flowing smoothly.

Why Should You Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners?


Nobody likes dealing with a stopped-up drain, but reaching for an off-the-shelf chemical drain cleaning product is rarely the right move. While these cleaners can often get the job done in a pinch, they are a bit like calling in a nuclear strike on your home's plumbing. In almost all cases, you will do better for your drains by calling in a professional cleaner or using an alternative method.

If you still aren't convinced, then keep reading to discover three ways that chemical drain cleaners can potentially turn a simple clog into something far worse.

1. Harsh Chemicals May Damage Your Pipes

If you've ever looked at an off-the-shelf cleaner, then you'll likely notice a variety of warnings about contact with your skin or eyes. Many drain cleaners use sodium hydroxide (NaOH, commonly referred to as lye) to break up clogs. Lye is highly caustic and works well to break up organic messes, which is why you want to avoid splashing any on your skin.

While lye is not inherently dangerous for pipes since it primarily works on organic matter, its side effects can be damaging. The chemical reaction between the lye and your clog is exothermic, which means that it releases heat. This heat can easily damage PVC drain pipes and or pipe joints. Many professional drain cleaners may recommend against these products because they are so risky.

2. You Might Not Clear the Clog

When it comes to chemical cleaners, there are two worst-case scenarios: moving the clog farther into the drain or failing to clear it at all. Professional cleaners use tools and techniques to completely break up and remove a clog, ensuring that your drain can flow freely. When you pour a cleaner down your drain, you have no way of knowing whether it will successfully clear the blockage.

In both cases, the drain cleaner may remain stuck behind the clog. Not only does this leave dangerous chemicals in your drain, but it also means that you may have an ongoing chemical reaction. While the cleaner remains in the pipe, it can continue generating heat that may cause additional damage.

3. You Can Turn a Slow Drain Into a Clog

Using drain cleaners to deal with a slow clog can be particularly harmful. Drains often run slowly because of build-ups along the inner walls of a pipe. Drain cleaners can break these clogs loose, causing them to fall deeper into the pipe where they can get caught on other pieces of grease, food, or anything else that is clogging your drain. This action can turn a slow drain into an entirely blocked one.

When dealing with a stubborn drain, you may want to start with a gentle DIY cleaner. If this fails, a drain cleaning service can help you to get your drain flowing smoothly again without damaging your pipes in the process.


15 October 2020