4 Ways Chemical Drain Openers Can Harm Your Pipes

The drains in your home are an important part of your plumbing system. They remove wastewater out of your sinks, showers, and toilets and dispose of them into a sewer or septic system depending on where you reside. However, clogs caused by food particles, soap, and hair can clog your drain, preventing anything from getting through and even threatening to back up into your home.

A large majority of homeowners opt to use a chemical drain opener after trying a plunger because they want to save time and money paying for a plumber. However, these products can do more harm than good and have damaging consequences to your drains. Below are reasons why it is best to call a plumber when you have a blockage rather than trying a drain opener.

1. Harmful contents

When you have a clog, you may get lucky on occasion and a chemical drain opener may remove it. However, the keyword in a chemical drain opener is chemical and the harm that they can do cannot be underestimated.

Chemical drain openers can contain substances that include sodium or potassium hydroxide, lye, bleach, sulfuric acid. These substances are corrosive and can lead to burns, eye irritation, and respiratory complications if ingested or inhaled. Even though you are pouring the cleaner down the drain, fumes can still linger in the air and cause issues because of their toxicity. These cleaners can also penetrate ground water supplies and cause injury and potential death if consumed.

2. Pipe damage

Clogs in your drain pipes can cause significant inconveniences and the main goal when they occur is to remove them as quickly as possible. Many homeowners turn to chemical drain openers with this objective in mind and fail to take into account what such products do to their pipes.

When a drain opener is poured into an opening, one of two things can occur. The product may be effective in removing the clog, but it does not flush out completely, leaving remnants of it in your drain pipe. The product could prove to be ineffective, meaning the chemical drain opener is sitting dormant in your drain pipe along with whatever it is that is clogging it. Either way, the chemicals in the product are corrosive and can begin to eat away at your pipes, causing you a lot more money than if you called a professional plumber in the first place.

3. Ineffective at times

You purchase a chemical drain opener and are confident that it will dispose of the clog that has been giving you grief in your home. However, as you use it you may find that it is ineffective. This puts you in a position where you have spent money on a product that is supposed to remove the clog, it fails, and you risk damaging your pipes as mentioned previously.

Chemical drain openers are able to remove clogs caused by hair or food. However, when it comes to mineral deposits or solid particles blocking your drain, chances are they will not work. Chemical drain cleaners are also ineffective when there is standing water in toilet or a shower or sink that is already backed up. 

4. Can result in more clogs

As mentioned, there are situations where a chemical drain opener can be effective. However, in using them you are not only sacrificing the condition of your drain pipes, you are setting yourself up to get more clogs in the future.

When you pour chemical cleaner into a pipe, it will remove the clog or it will have no effect and remain in the drain. Either way, residue will remain and eventually it will harden and attach itself to the sides of your drain. This will result in more clogs and they will probably be serious enough to warrant calling a professional plumber.

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