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Why You Shouldn't Use Chemical Drain Cleaners

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Got a pesky clogged drain? As a home or business owner, you’re likely well aware that you’ll encounter a clog at some point—it’s just a matter of when. Because dealing with a clogged drain can take time, you may be tempted to pick up a chemical drain cleaning product from your local hardware store. These products often advertise having your drain cleared out and flowing again in as little as just a few minutes, making them the fastest and easiest way to get your drains moving.

However, the lesson of “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is” absolutely applies here. While it’s true that chemical drain cleaners can eat away at the clogs, they don’t do so indiscriminately. And this fact alone makes them absolutely detrimental to your drain, your entire plumbing system, and even your entire home. Here are a few reasons why you should avoid these caustic chemical drain cleaner products at all costs.

They Don’t Really Eliminate the Problem

Drain cleaner products are usually an extremely strong acid, designed to attack and eat away at the clog to dislodge it and allow it to be flushed away. However, they don’t usually do this. Most of the time, gravity intervenes and forces the acid to simply eat away at the bit of the clog it can actually touch. That means that the majority of the time, the only thing that gets cleared away is the bit of the clog in the bottom of your pipe.

In some cases, this is enough to get your pipe flowing smoothly again. The larger gap in the clog means your drain can flow quick enough to make you think the issue has actually been resolved. However, because the hole in the clog is so small, it quickly fills again and before you know it, the clog is back and needs to be re-cleared just a short time later. The problem was never really solved.

They’re Dangerous for You & Your Family

Remember how we said that drain cleaners are a really strong acid? Well, we weren’t kidding. Drain cleaners are often acids with the potency and dissolving ability of things like battery acid. Battery acid can cause severe burns and even permanent disfiguration if you’re exposed to it for too long. That means even a small amount of drain cleaner getting on your skin could be horribly painful and lead to scarring for life. Why would you want to use a product like that in your home, where your children or pets could accidentally come in contact with it?

As plumbers, we’ve seen first-hand what kind of power these acids have. Even a small drop has managed to put holes in work boots, eat through clothing, and even cause burn injuries that take weeks to heal. And when they don’t fix the problem, plumbers have to stick their equipment, or worse, their hands, down the drain. This ruins equipment and potentially causes serious injuries to those who come to try and solve your problem the correct way.

They Damage Your Plumbing

Remember how we said they can eat through clothing as well as clogs? Well drain cleaners eat through everything that they come in contact with. And yes, that also includes your pipes. In fact, they eat through your pipes more than perhaps anything else. The acid in a drain cleaner creates thinner and more brittle areas of your pipe, especially in areas where the acid can pool and settle, such as plumbing traps. Before long, this weak spot can become a microfracture, and before long after that, the fracture becomes a leak that’s damaging the underside of your sink.

Acid that flows further down your drain also continues to damage every other line it comes in contact with, which means your lines could develop leaks further down. This can cause catastrophic problems, including slab leaks which are immensely difficult and invasive to repair.

They’re Bad for the Environment

What happens to that acid when it finally does reach your sewer? Well it goes into the public sewer system, where it remains. Acids have been found to pollute groundwater, causing radical changes to lakes, rivers, and oceans, and even resulting in harm to wildlife. You may not think that a small amount of acid means all that much in the grand scheme of things, but the truth is small amounts from large numbers of people quickly makes a huge change in our fragile ecosystem.

Avoid using a drain cleaner! Call H.L. Moe Co., Inc. at (818) 396-8002 today and let our professional plumbers remove your drain clog properly without the dangers of harmful chemical products.

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