One of the most common minor to moderate plumbing concerns that may take place within a home, and one that many homeowners will be able to remedy on their own in some cases, is a simple drain clog. At the same time, it’s important as a homeowner to ensure you’re using the right methods for clearing any minor clogs that show up in your drains — and one commonly-used approach that probably shouldn’t be quite so common, for a few reasons, is the use of liquid chemical drain cleaners.
These cleaners can cause some significant issues in your drains. In many cases, you’re much better off hiring professionals for a drain cleaning treatment — this may be just slightly more expensive than a liquid drain cleaner, but the long-term value you’re creating cannot be ignored. Here are some of the major issues with liquid chemical drain cleaners, plus why you should generally steer clear of them and utilize other approaches for remedying any clogs in your system.
Often Not Effective
The simplest reason to avoid liquid chemical drain cleaners? They don’t even work 100% of the time, or even close. While they’ll do fine with certain types of clogs, more often than not they’ll simply not be strong enough to break up the obstruction and you’ll need something more heavy-duty.
Harmful to Pipes
Another major reason why you should avoid liquid chemical drain cleaners is that they’re often harmful to your pipes. The harsh chemicals can eat away at the pipes over time, leading to corrosion and even complete failure of the plumbing system in extreme cases.
The more you use them, the greater the damage that can be done, which is why it’s generally a good idea to avoid using these dangerous cleaners whenever possible. We’ve seen examples of plumbing pipes that have been completely eaten away by regular use of liquid chemical drain cleaners, so it’s definitely not a risk worth taking.
Produces Toxic Fumes
When these cleaners work (which isn’t always), they produce some pretty noxious fumes that can be harmful to both you and your plumbing system. The fumes can linger in the air for quite some time, leading to respiratory problems and other health issues.
Since they’re so corrosive, it’s very easy for them to splash onto your skin or clothes and cause serious damage. Plus, if you’re not careful when using them you can easily end up with a dangerous spill that can cause even further harm.
There Are Better Alternatives
Luckily, you have a few alternatives to using harmful liquid chemicals for your drain clogs, including:
- Plunger: Probably the most basic approach, a plunger can be effective in many cases where a clog has formed. There are multiple sorts of plungers out there, including those useful for toilets, sinks, and showers.
- Baking Soda and Vinegar: This old standby approach is actually quite effective for many clogs, as the baking soda and vinegar will work to break up the clog over time. You’ll need to wait a bit for the reaction to take place, but it can be worth it in the end.
- Auger or snake: If the clog is further down in your plumbing system, an auger or snake can be more effective in clearing it out. This specialized tool can get past most minor obstructions and help you to get your drains flowing smoothly again.
- Professional solutions: In some cases, it may be necessary to bring in a professional to clear out a more serious clog. This can be more expensive than some home remedies, but it’s often the most effective option.
Consider these tips anytime you’re dealing with a significant drain clog. Don’t leap straight to the liquid drain cleaner; think about other options that will create less strain on your system.