Why You Should Avoid Using Drain Cleaners - Plumbing Dos and Don'ts
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
We all dread the moment you brush your teeth or wash dishes only to find that your drain is clogged. It is gross and inconvenient.
Our first reflex when this happens is to reach out for that bottle of drain cleaner under the sink....
Actually, let's be honest, our first reflex is to grab the plunger (we've all done it, right!?)
Well if the handy dandy plunger doesn't work, then that bottle of Draino or Max Gel is typically the next go-to.
But is it safe?
Did you know that using a drain cleaner does more harm than good? Well, let us not get away from the fact that some of these cleaners do a pretty darn good job clearing the drain.
But the caveat is that they do not stop when the pipe is all cleaned up. Their downside supersedes the upside - a reason why you should avoid using them altogether. Read on;
1. Drain Cleaners Damage Your Pipes
Have you ever wondered how a chemical can clean your drain so quickly and effectively?
Well, these cleaners tend to use a combination of corrosive chemicals. This is necessary to enable them to eat away the clog and clear the drain.
Note that your pipes are not immune to this corrosion, and as the clog is removed, your ducts are affected. Using these cleaners for a long time will gradually eat out your pipe linings and reduce their useful life.
You will be forced to replace your pipes longer than anticipated due to the frequent leaks caused by these chemicals and the overall degraded quality of their lining.
2. They Are Not Safe
If you check the description of most drain cleaners, you will see them filled with all sorts of warnings regarding the components used to make them. Understand that when you are pouring these harmful chemicals, they can get into your water supply and affect humans and animals.
The leftovers find their way into a dumpsite, thus contaminating the areas as well. In a nutshell, these chemicals are not safe for us and the environment. Over time, they can lead to devastating effects on the people using the water from the contaminated supply.
3. They Could Be Ineffective
The best way of solving clogs in your drain is to address the root cause of the problem. If it is a regular clog, then a drain cleaner can do the trick, albeit with the downsides to using it, but this is not always the case.
Your pipes might be clogged due to an underlying issue, such as sewage backup. In such a scenario, a drain cleaner cannot solve the problem. In other cases, it could be as a result of a broken pipe, and pouring the drain cleaner will just direct it to places that you do not know, taking us back to the safety concerns mentioned above.
This way, drain cleaners are temporary fixes to a clog, and it is not advisable to use them.
4. Damages your Septic Tank
The chemicals in these drain cleaners destroy everything in their path. When they get to the septic tank, they extend the damage there.
These chemicals are harmful since they kill all kinds of bacteria in the tank, even the good ones. These are the bacteria required to decompose and break down sewerage in that tank. Without them, your pipes will start to block in various places, leading to more damage.
For optimal septic tank functionality, avoid using drain cleaners, as you will find yourself dealing with more clogs than anticipated.
With the downsides to using drain cleaners listed, it is vital to know the best ways to deal with clogs. This is because clogs are common problems that we experience every day, and you have to deal with them one way or another.
What Is The Best Solution for Cleaning your Drain?
Clogs all look the same, but they are caused by different things. The key to clearing them is by addressing the root problem.
If you disintegrate the clogged material without going to the root cause, water will flow down the drain for a few days, and the clog will form again. You do not want to deal with clogs every few days, and it is better to invest in a long-lasting solution.
DIY Drain Cleaning
One of the best things to do for your drain is to take a few measures to prevent clogs. Be wary of what goes down it as these are what cause clogs.
Install a drain strainer in your sinks and showers to prevent large particles from finding their way down the drain. If you have a garburator, run some water through it after every flush to clear any excess bits that might be stuck.
If you develop a clog, use a plunger to try and get rid of it. Pumping it down the drain can generate the required pressure to do away with temporary clogs safely.
Professional Drain Cleaning
Clogs can be caused by many things, and in some cases, you will experience some that cannot be cleared by a plunger or any other DIY means. This way, it is necessary to seek the services of a professional plumber to bail you out.
The expert will diagnose the clog and try to get to the root problem before proposing any solution. Plumbers understand all the methods that need to be employed to clear all forms of clogs in the drain.
Standard methods include drain snaking where they feed a long cord with an auger at the end down the pipe to break up the clog or lift it. Hydro jetting is the other powerful method used to clear tough clogs.