Some common modern conveniences can in fact make life far less convenient. When your household drains become blocked can be an example of this inconvenience. It might be the case that you just pour some chemical drain cleaner into the sink in question, but this can often cause further (and rather expensive) damage, particularly if you find yourself needing to do it on a regular basis. It's not to say that you should never use a chemical drain cleaner, but it's not always the best choice. But why is this the case? And what are some of your other options?
The Corrosive Effect
Chemical drain cleaner is highly corrosive, and this is the point, although those corrosive properties don't always work in the way that you need them to. While metal pipes are obviously stronger than their PVC counterparts, they are not entirely impervious to the corrosive effects of chemical drain cleaner. Repeated use might cause holes to develop in your pipes, distributing water to a place where it can pool and cause a great deal of damage to your home. You will notice this by a growing damp patch in a certain section of your home, which will require extensive (and expensive) repair work.
When to Avoid
You can still use chemical drain cleaners, but they should not be your automatic first choice. Avoid them when a drain seems to be entirely blocked. The drain cleaner will pool around the blockage, and while it will corrode the materials that are causing the blockage, the concentration of the product in a particular section of your plumbing can lead to concentrated corrosion in this section. You should never pour it into a blocked sink that still holds water. The product will become too diluted to have much effect, but it can still cause damage to your actual basin.
A Gentle Approach
If you have to contend with blocked drains on a regular basis, consider investing in an enzymatic cleaner. This is an organic cleaning product that releases harmless bacteria into the drain. The bacteria will then slowly consume the organic material that is causing the blockage without corroding the pipes around the blockage. It's not as fast acting as its chemical counterpart, and this is why you should apply the recommended dosage of the cleaner at night, just before you go to sleep. This allows the product time to work without becoming diluted from the operation of your taps.
While you can still use chemical drain cleaners, please remember to use them sparingly; otherwise, your pipes will pay the price (meaning you then need to pay the price to have them repaired).