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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Are Chemical Drain Cleaners Safe for Home Use?

12/13/2019 (Permalink)

Drain cleaners are so common that nearly every homeowner has used one at some point

Ways That Chemical Drain Cleaners Can Damage Your Plumbing

If you’re like most homeowners, when facing a clogged drain in your Raleigh, NC, home, you reach for a chemical drain cleaner. Effective and affordable, these chemicals are the go-to for most people. What few of them realize, however, is that this quick-fix solution may lead to long-term problems. That’s because not every chemical cleaner is safe for pipes. Keep reading to learn some of the top ways chemical drain cleaners can damage your plumbing.

How Pipe Cleaners Work

Marketed under several familiar brand names, most chemical cleaners work by generating heat to loosen the clog. The most common types of pipe cleaners include the following:

  • Caustic cleaners – often contain lye
  • Oxidizing cleaners – often contain bleach
  • Acid cleaners – generally available to plumbers only

All have clear benefits but also lots of potential drawbacks.

Hard on Pipes
Perhaps the biggest drawback to these types of cleaners is their chemical effect on pipes. When used frequently on older pipes, they can cause pipes to break down, warp or even melt.

Environmentally Damaging
Another drawback is that these materials, once done with the clogged drain, go down the drain and into the water supply where they can cause harm. These chemicals can erode septic systems overall too.

Dangerous to Children and Pets
These cleaners are very dangerous if swallowed but can also cause damage other ways. They’re known for releasing noxious fumes that can burn eyes and mucous membranes, as well as damage skin. For a family with children or pets, using this type of cleaner can be an accident waiting to happen.
Drain cleaners are so common that nearly every homeowner has used one at some point, and they’re generally fine for an occasional clogged drain. However, if you find yourself reaching for one more than once in a blue moon, it’s probably best to call a plumber or sewage cleaning specialist to get down to the root of your problem.

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