Are Commercial Drain Cleaners Bad?

Are Commercial Drain Cleaners Bad?

December 16, 2020

There is some controversy around chemical drain cleaners in Bay City, MI. Many plumbers hate it when consumers use them, but many homeowners rely on them. There are situations where you should avoid drain cleaners, but in most cases, the occasional use of a product like liquid Drano cleaner will not cause substantial harm. Here is an overview of commercial drain cleaners, how they work and when you should avoid using them.

How they work

Chemical drain cleaners come in gel, liquid and powder forms. Many varieties address specific types of clogs, such as grease or hair. All forms work by moving electrons into the clogging substance and breaking it down with heat.

There are three types, including caustic, oxidizing and acid drain cleaner. Caustic cleaners contain lye and potash. They turn grease into a soap-like substance that quickly descends into the sewer.

Oxidizing cleaners contain bleach, peroxides and nitrates. These ingredients work by removing electrons from organic clogs and breaking them into pieces. This action clears the blockage and allows oxidizing cleaners to break through standing water.

Acid drain cleaners are only available to plumbers. They contain high levels of sulfuric or hydrochloric acid, which are dangerous to most living things. This combination creates heat, which melts congealed grease and other types of hard clogs.

Since heat is the basis of these substances, it is possible to damage plumbing through overuse of chemical drain cleaners. Fortunately, these incidents are avoidable.

Possible impacts

Many homes contain pipes made from PVC. If you frequently use drain cleaners, they soften PVC and increase your chances of busted pipes. Older pipes made of metal are most likely to be damaged. However, as long as you follow instructions and know when to call a professional, you are likely not going to destroy your plumbing.

To use drain cleaners safely, pour them into your clogged drain, and wait at least 15 minutes. Consider letting them sit overnight if you face a severe clog. After this time, flush the drain with hot water.

But even if you use these cleaners safely, there may be other issues. Drain cleaners are toxic and can cause burns and illness. You need to store them away from pets and small children. If you spill them on your clothes, you will likely burn them. Many people are sensitive to their noxious fumes, and if you mix drain cleaners, you risk explosions. It’s good to buy drain cleaners only when you need them and plan to use the whole bottle. That way, you do not risk fumes, explosions or poisoning by keeping drain cleaners in storage.

If you have a septic system, drain cleaners kill beneficial bacteria, leading to septic failure. Unless you have no other options, use a pipe snake or call a plumber to address clogs if you have a septic system. Other causes of clogs with septic systems often require further intervention, and the drain cleaner will only make the situation worse.

Finally, if you discover that the clog is more significant than your DIY efforts can handle, let your plumber know that you used a drain cleaner. That allows them to take precautions so they do not risk injury when fixing your pipes.

If chemical drain cleaners do not work, Thornton Brothers Sewer Service in Bay City, MI is here to help. Call us today to schedule a drain cleaning appointment.

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