Chemical drain cleaners are a double-edge sword. On one hand, they’re a quick-fix solution for the DIYer. On the other hand, they’re notorious for causing long-term damage to pipes. What do our residential plumbers think about drain cleaners for clearing drainage obstructions?
Our Take on Chemical Drain Cleaners
We believe that drain cleaners are quite effective and actually do what they advertise to do. As such, they’re quite effective as a DIY measure for clearing a clogged sink or shower drain. They work because the ingredients include oxidizing chemicals, which break down clogs by removing or adding electrons to the hair, grease, and other debris that make up the obstruction. The liquid indiscriminately burns away whatever it comes into contact with, and therein lies the problem.
How Drain Cleaners Hurt the Pipes
The same oxidizing chemicals that dissolve the obstruction can also ultimately hurt the pipes. PVC pipes are especially susceptible to damage. Cleaners contain hydrochloric acid, which can melt plastic pipes and cause metal ones to crack. The liquid also sits in the pipes for a prolonged period. While this gives time for the obstruction to dissolve, a bit of the pipe interior also erodes in the process.
Aside from harming the pipes, chemical cleaners also release fumes that may be harmful to people by irritating the eyes, nose, and throat. This can be really dangerous if the home lacks ventilation. Some cleaners may even cause skin burns if you come into direct contact with the liquid.
Here’s our advice: stay away from chemical-based drain cleaners. If you can’t fix a clog using a plunger or a drain snake, then contact an emergency plumber. Drain cleaners provide a low-cost quick-fix, but you cannot overlook the long-term damage to the pipes. South County Plumbing advises residences and commercial facilities to stay away from chemical drain cleaners.
Edited by Justin Vorhees
Drain Clearing for Residential and Commercial Pipes
Affordable, expert plumbing in Edmonds, Lynnwood, Bothell, Everett, Arlington, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Shoreline, Snohomish, Woodinville, Silver Lake & Maltby