This chemical drain cleaner promises to clear your clog. But how does it actually work? Did you know it can potentially cause damage? Find out before you pay out!
Every owner has been there. You shower and stand in water up to your ankles.
Your drain is clogged, but how to fix it? There are many ways to unclog your drain, but some may be better than others.
One option is to use a chemical drain cleaner. Read on to learn how liquid drain cleaners work and how to prevent damage to your plumbing system.
Types of Chemical Drain Cleaners
There are many types of chemical drain cleaner that you can use in a variety of situations. Most often, a small clog will only require a caustic or oxidizing cleaner, but large clogs may require an acidic cleaner.
Caustic cleaners contain ingredients like lye that donate electrons to the material causing the clog. This creates a chemical reaction that generates heat and makes the fat more liquid and easier to dissolve. They are especially useful for grease-clogged drains like kitchen sinks or grease traps.
Oxidizing drain cleaners are similar to caustic drain cleaners, but there is a slight difference. Instead of donating electrons, they accept electrons from organic matter in a process called oxidation.
Containing ingredients like bleach and nitrates, they are among the most popular types of liquid cleaners. They work by combining with water to generate heat and break down clogged material.
Because they work well on organic materials, oxidizing drain cleaners are useful for shower drains, toilets, or sinks to remove hair and other clog-causing materials.
Acidic drain cleaners are the most aggressive and are rarely used. They contain ingredients such as sulfuric or hydrochloric acid and work by creating hydronium ions in a chemical reaction with the clogged material.
This type of cleaner should only be used in worst-case scenarios. Not only can they be very harmful to your plumbing system, but also to your health.
Problems with Chemical Drain Cleaners
Because most chemical drain cleaners generate heat when they react chemically, they can damage your plumbing system. Most newer pipes are made of PVC plastic, which can warp or melt if exposed to too much heat.
Even if your pipes are not made of PVC, metal pipes can also swell from too much heat. Over time, heat and pressure can cause metal tubing to crack or burst.
If your plumbing system includes a septic tank, chemical drain cleaners are never a good choice. Septic tanks use bacteria to break down organic matter, but harsh chemicals can kill bacteria in your tank and render it ineffective.
Chemical drain cleaners can not only damage your plumbing system, they can also be harmful to your health. When you use them, you release a lot of corrosive chemical fumes into the air, which you then breathe.
These caustic chemical fumes can be even worse if the area you are working in is not well ventilated, such as in a B. Your bathroom. Inhaling chemicals over a long period of time or in large quantities can damage your respiratory system.
Repeated exposure to harsh chemicals can also lead to brain damage over time.
In addition to possible breathing problems, the chemicals in drain cleaners can damage your skin or eyes. Since most of them are designed to react with organic material, they have no problem reacting with those body parts.
If misused, they can lead to chemical burns or even blindness. It is important to always wear gloves when handling these chemicals. It’s also a good idea to wear goggles or a mask to protect against serious eye damage.
Alternatives to Chemical Drain Cleaner
There are many alternatives to using a liquid drain cleaner, whether you want to try simple methods at home or hire a professional drain cleaning service.
One thing to try is hot and cold water. Pour very hot water down the drain first to flush any clogged material down the pipe. Then pour cold water to rinse.
Another idea you can use is baking soda and vinegar. It works similar to commercial chemical drain cleaner in that it relies on a chemical reaction, but it requires nothing more than household items.
Pour the baking soda down the drain first, then the vinegar and leave overnight. This causes a chemical reaction that helps clear the clog. Rinse with water the next morning to remove the clog.
If none of these methods work, you can try a drain plunger or snake. Almost everyone has a plunger they can use, but a drain snake is a little less common. In both cases, they can be good alternatives to using chemical drain cleaner.
If your drain is clogged with hair, which is typical in showers or sinks, you can try pulling the hair out manually. Depending on the type, you may be able to better access the clog by removing the drain cover.
Try removing the hair with a small hooked object like a coat hanger. It might not get rid of all the hair, but it can be a temporary fix to clean up your drain a bit.
If none of these methods work, it may be time to contact your local plumber. They have professional methods and tools to clear clogged drains.
If your drain is clogged and you need help repairing it, call us at (540) 402-9785. We will find a solution for all your plumbing needs.
Now that you know all about the types of chemical drain cleaners, their problems, and their alternatives, feel free to do some additional research on your own to learn more.