Homeowners often use chemical drain cleaners to resolve clogged drains. However, the repeated use of these harsh products can result in persistent clogs and damage to your plumbing. It may seem easy enough to go to the store and buy a liquid drain cleaner. But hiring a plumber in the first place can save you money in the long run. Drain cleaning services can permanently resolve the issue at its source.

The Risks of Chemical Drain Cleaners

If you use a chemical drain cleaner, it may be doing more harm than good. There are many reasons to consider hiring a professional to address the problem. Some of the risks of chemical drain cleaning products include:

  • Not All Types of Clogs Are Fixed: The type of clog a drain cleaner can clear depends on its formulation. If you have mineral scale buildup from hard water, a blockage caused by paper, or a clump of hair or grease in a pipe, using the wrong cleaner won’t fix the issue. Also, a drain cleaner won’t work if the clog is caused by pipe damage.
  • The Effects Are Only Temporary: A chemical drain cleaner will not address the underlying problem if you experience frequent drain clogs. Call a plumber to identify and correct the cause.
  • Pipes and Plumbing Fixtures Can Be Damaged: A chemical-based drain cleaner can generate heat that damages PVC and other sensitive materials. Chemical reactions can damage metal pipes. The frequent use of chemical drain cleaners can erode pipes to the point they fail.
  • Health Risks: Chemicals like bleach, lye, and sulfuric acid can irritate or burn exposed skin. If the burn is severe enough, it may require skin grafting and other interventions. Depending on the drain cleaner, it may also release toxic fumes into your home, which can cause indoor air quality problems.
  • Environmental Pollution: Chemicals in drain cleaners poured into your pipes can make it into groundwater or contaminate a septic tank. Their effects can be unpredictable. Therefore, avoiding the use of chemical drain cleaners can protect the environment not only around your home but also far away from it.
  • Safety Hazards: Chemical drain cleaners must be used in well-ventilated areas. Mixing them with other drain cleaners can be unsafe. If you’re resorting to using a chemical-based product, always wear rubber gloves and never use it with a plunger. The chemicals can also be dangerous to children and pets, so the risks aren’t limited to the person using the product.

Benefits of Professional Drain Cleaning

A DIY solution such as the use of a chemical drain cleaner has limited effectiveness. At best, the effects may be temporary. You don’t have the knowledge or equipment to find hidden plumbing issues and repair them. Addressing the underlying problem lets a plumbing technician find a long-term solution. Their process entails:

  • A Thorough Inspection: A professional plumbing inspection entails more than simply noting the symptoms. It involves using advanced leak detection tools and inspection cameras to see deep into your plumbing system from the inside. The technician uses these to determine the best drain cleaning or repair solution.
  • A Customized Solution: As we’ve said, the use of chemical drain cleaners doesn’t always address the problem. Every plumbing issue is unique. Whether you have a small leak, a pipe about to burst, or a clog caused by soap scum, food particles, or a sewage backup, a skilled plumber can resolve it.
  • Preventative Maintenance: Plumbers can use effective drain-cleaning techniques to prevent future problems. Hydro-jetting is one option. It involves using high-pressure streams of water to break up clogs and remove buildup from pipe walls. Meanwhile, powerful augers are among the most trusted tools to remove or break up clogs.
  • Eco-Friendly Solutions: Chemical drain cleaners can harm the environment. However, plumbers can use green alternatives such as bio-enzymatic cleaners.

Signs You Need a Professional Drain Cleaning

A professional intervention, rather than a DIY solution, is necessary if you have any of these issues:

  • Slow Drainage: If one sink or fixture is draining slowly, the blockage may not be too deep into the drain line, but serious enough you can’t fix it yourself.
  • Recurring Clogs: When a drain slows up or clogs again soon after you clear it, the problem may be rooted deeper than you think.
  • Standing Water: A blocked drainage pipe can prevent water from draining from a sink, shower, washing machine, basement floor drain, etc.
  • Foul Odors: Call a plumber if you smell waste, sewage, or other odors from a drain or plumbing fixture.
  • Water Backup: A clogged drain line can cause water to appear randomly in bathroom fixtures and the laundry room, which can be unsanitary and unhealthy.
  • Gurgling: If you hear gurgling sounds after running a faucet or flushing the toilet, water may be struggling to pass through a clog.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know When to Call a Professional?

Call a plumber if:

  • A clog recurs after clearing the drain
  • One or more drains are slowing up over time
  • Strange odors come from your plumbing
  • Water backs up from multiple fixtures
  • Flushing the toilet causes another drain to back up

Can the Use of Chemical Drain Cleaners Be Effective?

Chemical drain cleaners work only if there’s a superficial clog of soap or grease. However, they can cause extensive damage over time and don’t fix the root of most problems. Therefore, these products are not an effective way to maintain your plumbing system.

What Are the Cost Benefits of Professional Drain Cleaning Services?

A chemical drain cleaner may cost just a few dollars. However, it’s not a permanent solution. It can lead to spending more than if you called a professional in the first place. You might pay them a couple hundred dollars, but a plumber will ensure the problem doesn’t come back and cost you more money.

Call Express Plumbing Heating & Air

Our plumbing technicians are licensed and extensively trained in addressing all types of clogs. Customers in Boise, Caldwell, Nampa, and surrounding areas can count on us to resolve slow drainage, frequent clogs, odors, noises, and even flies attracted to drain water. Drainage issues can be diagnosed with video camera inspections and resolved using hydro-jetting, snaking/augering, and bio-friendly drain cleaners. We are committed to permanent solutions and 100% customer satisfaction. Contact us online or call (208) 225-8860 to request drain cleaning services.

Brad Jordan

company icon