Of all the things that chemical drain cleaners are, they certainly aren’t costly. You can buy a bottle of chemical drain cleaner for $20 or less, and you can find these products at just about any general or convenience store. However, when it comes to clearing clogs in your Jacksonville, FL home, it’s often best to call a plumber instead. Read on to find out why.

The Many Health Hazards of Chemical Drain Cleaners

Chemical drain cleaners are among the most caustic and corrosive solutions that consumers have legal access to. If they’re used incorrectly, store-bought drain cleaners can cause serious eye and skin injuries. Even simply breathing in their fumes for too long can result in chemical burns throughout the respiratory tract and nasal, throat, and oral damage.

Some Drain Cleaners Have Warning Labels With Impossibly Fine Print

Given the many problems they can cause, chemical drain cleaners often come with labels that are jam-packed with warnings and application instructions. With their ultra-fine print, many of these warnings aren’t easy to see clearly. Moreover, in their haste to remove plumbing blockages, many people fail to read these labels in their entirety.

To use chemical drain cleaners safely, you should have:

  • A shirt with long, protective sleeves
  • Safety goggles
  • A well-ventilated work space
  • Suitable work gloves that are rated for chemical handling

Unfortunately, most plumbing clogs develop in bathrooms or other areas where natural ventilation is limited. If you’re stuck with a weak, underperforming exhaust fan or a tiny window, you’ll additionally need a protective mask.

How Chemical Drain Cleaners Harm Plumbing Systems

The same corrosive chemicals that can burn skin and soft tissues also wreak havoc on wastewater pipes. Worse still, they aren’t guaranteed to clear pipe obstructions. If you dump a chemical drain cleaning solution down your commode or into sink and your clog doesn’t budge, this same solution could remain trapped in your pipes for hours. Drain cleaning chemicals eat through waste and pipe materials indiscriminately. They can further undermine the integrity of weak pipes or create all-new plumbing leaks.

There May Be Far Larger Problems at Hand

There’s also the possibility that a simple clog isn’t as simple as it seems. If you have multiple smelly, blocked, or slow-moving drains at once, you might have a whole-house backup on the way. It may be that your underground sewer line has been blocked by invasive tree roots or weeds or packed tight with pipe sediment and slow-degrading materials. In either case, if the problem isn’t rectified, you’ll eventually have effluence come backing up into your living space. Using drain cleaning chemicals when you have an impending whole-house backup will only delay the inevitable.

What Happens When a Chemical Drain Cleaner Doesn’t Work?

In addition to worrying about whether a trapped drain cleaner will eat through your pipes and irritate your lungs, you also have to consider how toxic, contaminated water will impact continued repair efforts. If you’ve dumped a chemical drain cleaner into your commode, shower pan, or sink and the targeted clog remains, don’t try to bale any trapped water out. Getting even diluted drain cleaners in your airways or eyes or on your skin can still cause injury.

Always contact a plumber instead. Just make sure to let our plumbers know that you’ve used a store-bought drain cleaner so that we can take the necessary safety precautions.

Is There Ever a Good Time to Clear Your Own Clogs?

Do-it-yourself (DIY) clog repairs always entail a fair amount of risk. Even plunging a blocked fixture could force a hard, non-destructible item deeper into your plumbing system. Using drain augers and drain snakes can diminish the integrity of porcelain fixtures and porcelain coatings, void your manufacturers’ warranties, and damage a fixtures’ mechanical components. Much like plungers, drain augers and drain snakes can also force non-degradable items deeper.

While there’s always minor troubleshooting that homeowners can do when small plumbing problems arise, the safest bet is contacting a plumber. Although a bottle of drain cleaner might not cost much at all, you could wind up spending a veritable fortune on plumbing repairs and medical bills if anything goes awry with your DIY clog removal.

How to Lower Your Spending on Professional Plumbing Repairs

Despite all the problems that chemical drain cleaners are known to cause, many consumers continue to use them due to their low cost. The good news is that you don’t have to risk your health or the integrity of your pipes to get effective, affordable plumbing solutions. You can limit the likelihood of all common plumbing blockages by:

  • Scheduling annual whole-house plumbing inspections
  • Scheduling professional drain cleaning service each year
  • Installing properly fitted drain covers or drain mesh
  • Choosing the right plumbing fixtures for your household
  • Limiting what you send down your drains

Regular drain cleaning flushes out build-ups of soap scum, body oils, hair, sediment, and other pipe debris. It opens up pipe interiors and gives waste and wastewater more room to move through. Thus, even when residents flush too much toilet paper or organic waste, your drains and wastewater pipes should be able to handle the additional demand.

Why Professional Plumbing Services Are the Better Choice

When treating clogs, we start by ruling out larger and more serious problems like sewer line blockages, sewer line leaks, and major, in-wall pipe obstructions. If necessary, we can use camera inspections to identify and assess obstructions in areas we can’t see. These and other diagnostic techniques help us determine the best and least invasive repair strategies. By taking a thorough and cautious approach with every clog, we help homeowners save time and money.

There are no health risks in performing plumbing repairs correctly. Even when used with the utmost care, chemical drain cleaners are still dangerous. Even a single, errant splash could cause permanent damage.

Hiring a professional won’t put you at risk of having your manufacturer warranties voided. It can also keep you compliant with other policies and agreements that cover your plumbing system, such as your home warranty or your home insurance plan.

The Long-Term Benefits of Professional Drain Cleaning

In some situations, the best solution to a clogged drain is a thorough drain cleaning. Minimally invasive techniques like hydro-jetting and hydro-steaming scour off pipe build-ups with hot, high-pressure water or steam. Not only do these treatments clear existing clogs, but they also prevent new clogs from forming.

We also help homeowners take a proactive and ongoing approach to clog prevention. We know that most plumbing issues arise from ill-suited or incorrectly installed fixtures and appliances, improper drain use, and poor plumbing system maintenance. In addition to identifying and resolving blockages, we also tell homeowners how they develop and the best strategies for avoiding them. As needed, we recommend drain covers, needs-specific drain cleaning schedules, and higher-performing appliances and fixtures.

Homeowners in Jacksonville, FL can count on us for expert heating, cooling, and indoor air quality services. We also provide professional drain cleaning. To schedule a plumbing service or request a hassle-free quote, contact Buehler Air Conditioning & Plumbing now. Read more about us here!

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