Chemical drain cleaners might seem to be a logical quick-fix for the average homeowner who wants to gets that annoying clog cleared without the help of a professional plumber. There are reasons why chemical cleaning solutions can be a very bad idea, even causing more harm than good. Caution is advised when using any caustic chemical. Better yet, professional plumbing services will always have a much safer and effective means to clears drains and pipes.
The ingredients in chemical cleaners are very corrosive and this is deliberately intended. Acids and solvents are used to dissolve grease, hair and hard particles that are stuck in the pipes. Unfortunately, and although these chemicals might work, they also eat away at the metal and plastic piping, in addition to joint seals and any caulking material. This causes leaks, and in time, could even burn large holes in the plumbing lines which would lead to major repair costs. Persons who do not follow directions or overdo the prescribed dosage are more prone to cause immediate damage.
Drain cleaning chemicals may have serious effects on the human body. The same corrosive chemicals that are meant to eat away clogs may seriously damage and burn the skin, leaving painful sores and rashes. The fumes of drain cleaning chemicals are very hazardous to inhale, especially if they are inadvertently mixed with other chemicals like bleach or citric acid cleaners. Toxic gases my cause the pipe water to boil and blow-back up through the drain, and using a plunger may spray and splash persons in proximity. Drain cleaners can burn the eyes if exposed for even a short duration. Pets and small children are especially vulnerable to exposure.
Chemical drain cleaners are harmful to the environment. Although they may enter the municipal water system and go through a treatment process, they may eventually purge into the groundwater and contaminate it. The chemicals are poisonous to fish and wetland creatures in small or major waterways. Insects and birds may be indirectly affected, with an end result of the entire ecosystem suffering contamination. The plumbing in a septic system may be permanently damaged by harsh chemical drain cleaners, in addition to allowing caustic chemicals to enter the groundwater.
The alternative to using chemical drain cleaners is hiring a professional plumbing company that uses mechanical methods, like commercial plungers and snakes. There are also “green” chemicals that can be used that will not have adverse effects on the environment and health.
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