When your shower or sink stops draining properly, you may instinctively reach for your favorite brand of liquid drain cleaner. Liquid drain cleaner eats away at stubborn clogs and gets your drains working again, but this product should be a last resort, not your solution to every household clog. Here are three risks of liquid drain cleaners.
Damage to your pipes
Drain cleaners use corrosive substances to dissolve the hair, soap scum, and other debris that's trapped within your drain. However, these strong chemicals can also cause damage to your pipes. If your pipes are old and corroded, pouring drain cleaner down the drain can further eat away at the pipes and cause a leak. If your pipes are made of plastic, they can be softened by the heat created by the corrosive action.
If the drain cleaner isn't enough to get rid of the clog, the problem can get even worse. The drain cleaner gets stuck behind the clog, and it sits in the pipes until the clog can be cleared. This means that the corrosive chemicals have even more time to eat away at your pipes.
Damage to your body
Drain cleaner is a very dangerous product. If you accidentally splash it on your skin while you're trying to unclog your drain, your skin will be burnt, possibly severely. Getting it in your eyes is also very dangerous, and you could lose your vision if this happens. Even breathing in the fumes of the drain cleaning product can burn your mouth and lungs.
Damage to the environment
When you put dangerous chemicals—like drain cleaner—down your drains, they make their way to either your city's sewer system or your backyard septic tank, depending on your home's wastewater disposal system. Both types of systems use organisms like bacteria to break down human waste, but dangerous chemicals can pass through this treatment process intact. They can then make their way to the groundwater supply or into local rivers or lakes.
Instead of reaching for drain cleaner, choose safer alternatives when you're facing a clogged drain. If your sink or shower gets clogged, use a plunger to try to push the clog through the drain. It's a good idea to use a new plunger for this purpose, not the one that you use for toilet clogs.
Drain snakes are another safe way to get rid of clogs. These are long tools that are inserted into the drain to try to manually loosen the hair and debris that's trapped within the drain.
If you can't dislodge a clog with your plunger or drain snake, call a plumber for help instead of using drain cleaner. For more information, contact Dependable Plumbing or a similar company.