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The Dangers of Store-Bought “Drain Cleaners”

Posted on: April 16, 2018

There’s an old saying that the simplest solution to a problem is usually the best solution. We tend to find that’s true—but the problem is people often don’t know what the “simplest” solution is. It isn’t necessarily the quickest or the least expensive. A simple solution is the one that has the fewest possible complications.

Take, for example, clearing out a clog in the sink. What’s the simplest solution? You’ll probably think of a sink plunger, and that’s a good first idea. Often times, a plunger will get rid of the clog. But if the plunger doesn’t work, then it wasn’t the right solution. What’s next? If you said, “chemical drain cleaner,” that’s actually not a simple solution because of all the complications and potential dangers. No, the simple solution is to pick up the phone and call a professional plumber. It goes straight to the point: an expert comes to your house and cleans the drain. Done! And done right!

Let’s take a closer look at drain cleaner complications.

“But, drain cleaner is so easy to get! Cheap from a store, pour it down the drains, done!” Ah, but not done right. And likely with some negative consequences. Below are the reasons using chemical drain cleaners from a store can create more problems than they solve, and why no professional plumber recommends using them.

  • They can damage drainpipes: The standard “drain cleaner” pulled off a store shelf is nothing more than a concoction of highly acidic chemicals, mostly lye. The acid can eat through some clogs—but it can also eat into the piping! The chemical residue left afterwards can create corrosion as well, and the mixture of the chemicals with soap scum can eventually cause leaks in the pipes.
  • They don’t do an effective job: The term “cleaner” is all wrong for liquid drain cleaners. The actual job of drain cleaning is to completely remove the residue from the drainpipe walls, and this requires a professional using a toll such as a hydro-jetter. A store-bought drain cleaner only chews a hole through the clog to allow wastewater through. The residue left behind will help to start up another clog. And in some cases, the drain cleaner won’t get the job done at all!
  • They are highly toxic: A bottle of acidic chemicals is dangerous to have around your house, possibly accidentally harming children or pets. The fumes from them can burn people’s eyes, and thay also damages skin on contact.
  • They are bad for the environment: The empty drain cleaner bottles that end up in landfills are rarely completely empty. The leftover residue in them can get down into the groundwater and poison the environment.

You can see that there’s nothing simple about using chemical drain cleaners for your clogs. Take the easy and best route and call our plumbers. We offer quality drain cleaning in Durham, NC and the surrounding areas, so when you want a real solution to your clogged drains, reach out to us.

Bud Matthews Services is here for all your home service needs in Durham.

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