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Showdown: Chemical Drain Cleaners vs. Professional Plumber

Oops, the garbage disposal is jammed! It’s not a big deal; you’ve got your trusty Drano to clear up the problem. A couple of weeks later, you notice your shower is draining slowly. A quick pour of Liquid Plumr should help it flow down quicker! Clogs and backups aren’t surprising when you think about everything that goes down our drains- hair, soap, beauty products, leftover food, and more. That doesn’t mean they’re welcome, and when you encounter either one of these issues, you want to get rid of them ASAP. Reaching for the drain cleaner is a quick and easy fix, but is it the best option? Today, we’re breaking down how these store-bought cleaners work, whether they’re effective, and how they fare against a professional plumber.

How do chemical drain cleaners work?

As you can guess, chemical drain cleaners involve a chemical reaction to eliminate clogs. Typically, you’ll find one of these two types of cleaners out on the shelves:

Caustic drain cleaners- These cleaners are made up of lye and caustic potash. These bases react with clogged substances, generate heat in the process, and produce hydroxide ions that clear the clog. For anyone who can’t recall their teachings from Chemistry 101, this reaction helps turn grease into a soapy substance that is easily dissolvable.

Oxidizing drain cleaners- These cleaners typically contain the same substances that you'll find in bleach, peroxide, and nitrate. The chemicals cause a reaction that makes a clogged substance more oxidized while releasing heat and clearing up the blockage.

Are chemical drain cleaners safe to use?

Flip over your drain cleaner and take a look at the warnings. Immediately, the extensive list of harm to the body pops out. While you know better than to drink the substance, they still release toxic fumes that linger around, hurt your home’s air quality, and cause irritation. There’s more; the reason why we’re cautious when it comes to these substances is that they can also hurt your pipes. Your home’s plumbing system was built to last for decades, and relying on these chemical cleaners eat away at their lifespan. This may not sound like a big deal, but long-lasting use can leave you more susceptible to leaks and other major plumbing problems.

How do professional plumbers clean drains?

Sometimes the standard plunger can’t fix the job. If you want to clear the problem yourself, you can turn to the drain snake or drain auger. It’s a long tool that goes down your pipes and removes any blockages. These are great for dealing with stubborn clogs, but if the problem persists, then you should call in a professional.

Here at Performance Plumbing, we’ll begin the process by inspecting your plumbing system with our state-of-the-art camera. After locating the problem, we’ll use the hydrojetting method. We can blast away virtually anything that has been causing your drains to clog with a powerful stream of water. The best part of this technique? It’s chemical-free, eco-friendly, and safe!

Final thoughts

We won’t deny that chemical drain cleaners are convenient, but ultimately, they do more harm than good. They’re unsafe to the human body, your pipes, the environment, and they don’t solve the root of the problem. In this showdown, we’re naming the professional plumber the winner. If you’ve encountered a clog, we recommend you break out the plunger, drain snake, or giving us a call! We want you to protect your health and the health of your plumbing by relying on a trusted professional. If you are experiencing frequent backups, slow draining, or unpleasant odors coming from your drains, you’re probably due for a cleaning.

Contact us online or give us a call at (757) 300-0212, and an expert will be there to help!