If you have a Houston plumbing stoppage or a slow-moving drain, you may be tempted to use a drain cleaner from your local grocery or hardware store. However, oftentimes these products do more harm than good for your plumbing. Drain cleaners are often unable to clear a Houston plumbing stoppage. Additionally, you may end up paying for repairs from damaged plumbing. Instead, try other alternatives or call your plumber for drain clogs.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Chemical Drain Cleaners for a Houston Plumbing Stoppage
While chemical drain cleaners are marketed as a safe do-it-yourself plumbing fix for clogged drains, they are actually quite harmful. Chemical drain cleaners can harm your home’s plumbing, the environment, and even your family.
What are Drain Cleaners Made Of?
Drain cleaners usually contain caustic ingredients meant to produce a chemical reaction to heat up fats and oils that cause a Houston plumbing stoppage. In addition, many also use acids to try to break up clogs. For example, some chemical drain cleaners can eat through clothing on contact. Some chemicals you can find in many chemical drain cleaners include:
- Sodium hypochlorite
- Sodium nitrate
- Lye (Sodium Hydroxide)
These chemicals can cause serious issues in many different ways. Therefore, it’s best to stay away from these potentially harmful products.
Drain Cleaners May Harm Your Plumbing
Drain cleaners produce a chemical reaction to heat up and break apart a Houston plumbing stoppage. Unfortunately, this reaction may also harm your pipes. Chemical drain cleaners can harm almost any type of pipe, including PVC, galvanized steel, copper, and iron pipes. This means your plumbing likely isn’t safe from the effects of chemical drain cleaners. For PVC pipes, the heat can warp, soften, or even melt your pipes. With older metal plumbing, chemical drain cleaners may corrode your pipes with acid and excess heat. This can lead to leaks and burst pipes.
In addition, drain cleaners can also harm your plumbing fixtures. Chemicals in these products can quickly eat through finishes on metal and porcelain. For example, they can weaken the porcelain bowl of your toilet or even strip the color from touching your sink drain. Seals and caulking are also no match for caustic drain cleaners. If drain cleaners eat through these important components of your plumbing, it could lead to leaks and extensive water damage in your home. Therefore, if you have a Houston plumbing stoppage, a drain cleaner may do more damage to your plumbing.
Drain Cleaners May Not Clear Your Houston Plumbing Stoppage
Also, they might not clear the stoppage. In some cases, the heat and acids from the chemical drain cleaners have no effect on the clog. This means they just sit and eat away at your plumbing until you can remove the clog. Chemical drain cleaners don’t help with common causes of Houston plumbing stoppage, such as objects stuck in your drain.
However, perhaps more deceptively, chemical drain cleaners may only remove a piece of the clog. This often results in your drain working again, for a period of time. Often, drain cleaners will only break up part of a Houston plumbing stoppage, tricking you into believing that the problem is solved. However, this often isn’t the case. Instead, most of the clog may remain, with a small hole in it allowing some water to flow through. Over time, this clog will start to collect more oils and materials, eventually causing another Houston plumbing stoppage. Therefore, you could be dealing with the same problem again and again, while your Houston plumbing company could have fully removed the clog from the get-go.
Health and Environment Concerns
Remember how we said that drain cleaners contain harmful chemicals that have even been known to eat through fabric? Well, these can also harm you, your family, and even the environment. Drain cleaners can irritate or even burn the skin and mucous membranes. This means you must be extremely careful not to get any on your skin. Additionally, drain cleaners often produce a dangerous back splash onto your skin, face, or eyes.
Even if you manage to keep the product away from your skin, drain cleaners often produce potent fumes that can also be harmful. These fumes can irritate your eyes and sinuses. More importantly, inhaling these chemical fumes can even damage your lungs.
In addition, the chemicals in drain cleaners can also harm the environment. These chemicals can contaminate the groundwater. This can harm plants and wildlife. Therefore, many environmentalists are concerned about the wide use of chemical drain cleaners.
Alternatives for Clearing a Houston Plumbing Stoppage
If you want to try to fix your clogged or slow-moving drains yourself, there are other alternatives you can try before calling your plumbing specialists. One of the first things you should do is use a plunger on the drain to see if you can break up the clog. Additionally, you can use a plumbing auger from your local hardware store or even a bent wire hanger to try to remove debris from your drain. These can physically remove the clog from your drain, but you still may require assistance from your plumber for particularly stubborn clogs.
You can even make your own drain-cleaning solution from household products. Try combining baking soda and vinegar and pouring it down your drain. Let it sit for an hour and pour hot water down your drain to try to clear the clog. This solution is less likely to harm your plumbing. Additionally, it is often safer than chemical drain cleaners. Vinegar and baking soda are unlikely to cause health issues, such as burns or lung damage. Therefore, if you’re determined to use some sort of drain cleaner, try this option. If you’re still unsuccessful after trying these options, it’s time to call your Houston plumbing company for their expertise and specialized equipment.
At Santhoff Plumbing Company, we are a leading plumbing company in Houston. Our plumbers are here to help you day or night to keep your plumbing in great repair. Whether you need drain cleaning, Houston water heater repair, or just general maintenance, we offer prompt, friendly, and affordable service. Call us today at (713) 360-2185 to talk to one of our experts or to request service. We are here to serve you!