Dear Burton,

I’ve been using liquid drain cleaners for years. But I recently read these chemicals can damage my plumbing! Is that true? Am I actually doing more harm than good?

  • Curiously Clogged

Dear Curiously,

Thanks for bringing up this question. It’s one we tend to get most often around the holidays, when families are busy cooking and baking. Around that time, more than a few chicken bones and greasy messes wind up clogging kitchen drains across Omaha. This is the perfect time for a little proactive advice—so you can keep your drains clean all season long.

At Burton, we strongly recommend avoiding liquid drain cleaners. Here’s why:

  1. Liquid drain cleaners can be corrosive

Your everyday drain cleaners stocked at your local home improvement store typically contain chemicals like hydroxide (another word for lye) and/or sulfuric acid. These chemicals can pose a serious risk to your plumbing, especially if they sit against the surface of your pipes for a length of time. The same chemicals that make these drain cleaners somewhat effective at dissolving blockages also mean they’re pretty good at dissolving your pipes—especially if your home is older.

There’s a good chance your home also has multiple types of pipes, depending on the age of your plumbing and where the drain is located. Many homes have PVC or PEX plumbing at the fixture, and galvanized steel, iron, or copper pipes closer to your main drain. Unfortunately, these older pipes, once their protective zinc coating wears off, are particularly susceptible to damage by corrosive chemicals.

The more often you use drain cleaning chemicals, the more they can corrode your plumbing, weakening the structure of your system and increasing the likelihood of a leak at a pipe joint, or a complete pipe burst.

     2. The chemicals in liquid drain cleaners dissolve clogs instead of completely clearing them

If you’re lucky enough to use a drain cleaner without permanently damaging your plumbing, there’s a second issue you may run into: Incomplete clog removal.

Liquid drain cleaners are often less-than-effective at fully dissolving pesky blockages, which leads to recurring (and increasingly annoying) buildups. Plus, the dislodged clog remnants can travel further through your drain system, becoming lodged at a later, even harder-to-reach spot in your plumbing.

Additionally, some cleaners are known for leaving a slimy, filmy residue inside your drain pipes, which can create more clogs in the future as hair, dirt, and debris attach to the film.

     3. Nothing beats a good ol’ fashioned drain clearing service

While you may be tempted to reach for the short-term convenience found in bottled drain cleaners, nothing busts through blockages quite like a physical drain clearing service.

Drain clearing is more effective than liquid clog dissolvers because it uses tools like drain snakes, augers, and hydro-jetting equipment to completely remove every trace of stubborn clogs. Drain snakes use blades and scrapers to physically remove blockages from your plumbing, which can clear even complex clogs. And for backyard blockages caused by roots, or in older homes where some pipe corrosion may have already occurred, the powerful spray of hydro-jetting is a safe and effective way to clear clogs without compromising the structure of your plumbing.

When you call Burton for your drain clearing service, we’ll often use a long pipe camera to inspect your drain system and confirm the clog is fully cleared. Our advanced technology—and experienced know-how—ensure a comprehensive clearing process with no damage to your plumbing.

Looking for drain clearing services in Omaha? Just Call Burton!

At Burton, our non-invasive drain clearing services keep Omaha pipes flowing and going—no matter what type of clog is blocking your drains. From kitchen clogs and bathroom backups, to roots stopping up your drain field, we have the tools and technology it takes to keep your plumbing running smoothly. To schedule your drain clearing service or plumbing inspection, just call (402) 343-0011 or send us a message.