Chemical Drain Cleaners: Should You Use Them?
Chemical Drain Cleaners
Most people, when dealing with a clogged drain, will go out and purchase a chemical drain cleaner from their local big box store. While this is standard practice, are you actually resolving the issue or compounding it? For more modern homes with updated plumbing, these cleaners may be OK, but for older homes, the chemicals in these cleaners may create more problems.
1. Older Metal Pipes
If a pipe is completely clogged when you pour drain cleaners into the drain, then that cleaner will buildup at the clog and settle in. For newer pipes, this is not a significant issue, but for older metal pipes that are thinner and less resilient, these cleaners can begin to eat away at the metal, breaking it down even more than it was and potentially leading to leaks and breaks.
2. Plastic Pipes
Chemical cleaners help clear a clogged drain through a process that heats the clog, essentially melting any grease or grime so that it flows freely through the pipe. For plastic pipes, this chemical reaction can cause the pipe to melt and deform. Therefore, these types of cleaners should rarely, if ever, be used.
3. Complete Blockage
Again, cleaners are useful in partial blockages, but should not be used in complete blockages. The chemical reaction required to melt away a clog can be damaging to all types of piping. If you suspect that your drain is completely blocked, then use an alternative to chemicals.
4. Alternatives to Chemicals
Chemical cleaners are not your only option for clogs. You can use a drain auger or snake, which is a tool with a cleaning or clearing head attached to a long cable stored in a drum. You push the snake through the drain until you reach the blockage, and then, turning the handle, work your way through the clog. However, if you are more interested in sewage cleaning or have a clog that is especially difficult, you can call a plumbing specialist in the Milwaukee Metropolitan area.
A clogged drain is a nuisance, but chemical cleaners may not be your solution. Consider the age of your home and plumbing materials before using any chemical cleaners.