“Drain cleaners.” If this name makes you think of bottled of chemicals found on the shelves of stores, you’re not alone. It’s what most homeowners think of when they hear about drain cleaning for their home plumbing.
There’s just a slight problem with this. These so-called drain cleaners aren’t good at their job. In fact, they can be downright hazardous and create more problems for drains and plumbing systems. No professional plumber recommends the use of store-bought chemicals to unclogged stopped-up or slow drains.
Why Chemical Drain Cleaners Are Trouble
We understand why people often reach for chemical drain cleaners when they run into a clogged drain or slow drain in their home. It seems like such a simple, cost-effective solution. These chemicals are advertised as fast ways to open up a drain again without needing to call a plumber.
However, these mixtures of highly acidic chemicals are a “cure” that’s often worse than the original problem. Here are some of the negative effects of these chemical concoctions:
- They don’t work well: The chemicals in store-bought drain cleaners eat through blockages in drains, but they don’t really clean the drain. In most cases they only chew through enough of the obstruction of open up the drain so water can pass through it. Most of the debris that caused the slow or clogged drain remains behind, making it easy for the problem to restart a short time later. With many thicker clogs, chemical drain cleaners won’t work at all.
- They are highly toxic: The warnings you see all over the sides of bottles of drain cleaners are not hype. In fact, they’re probably underselling how dangerous the chemicals are. Not only are the toxic to consume, they burn skin and eyes, and their fumes are harmful to breathe. These dangerous fumes linger long after the chemicals are used, posing ongoing dangers to people in a household.
- They can damage the drainpipes: The caustic action of drain cleaning chemicals can easily eat through parts of the drainpipes. The chemical reactions between drain cleaners and soap scum in the drainpipes can also trigger corrosion.
- They’re harmful to the environment: The chemical residue that remains in bottles of drain cleaner is hard to eliminate, and these bottles end up in landfills where the chemicals can seep down into the groundwater.
How to Unclog Drains Without Chemical Cleaners
When you have a slow or clogged drain, the first step to take is use a sink or toilet plunger and see if this will get rid of the obstruction. If the plunger doesn’t work, you can try a hand-cranked drain snake (a.k.a. drain auger). Once you’ve exhausted these possibilities, it’s time to call for professional plumbers in Glendale, AZ. Expert plumbers have a variety of tools, such as motorized drain augers and hydro-jetters that can not effectively eliminate clogs, but thoroughly clean the drains, making it difficult for the clogs to come back. We recommend our customers arrange for drain cleaning as a regular maintenance job once a year to prevent clogs from starting in the first place.
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