Chemical drain cleaners are alkaline or acidic mixtures that people typically use to remove soft blockages, like grease, from drains.
They’re affordable and more convenient than calling someone to clean the drains out. The trade-off for that convenience and affordability is that their alkaline and acidic properties can harm pipes and you. Here’s how.
What are Chemical Cleaners?
Chemical drain cleaners are available in liquid, powder, gel, and crystal form. They’re divided into two kinds of mixtures: alkaline and acidic.
Acidic drain cleaners usually contain sulfuric acid that dissolves natural substances, such as hair or fats. Alkaline drain cleaners comprise hydroxides, most commonly sodium hydroxide. In effect, sodium hydroxide converts natural substances, like fat or grease, into soap, which dissolve into water. Both drain cleaners operate in similar ways to clear blockages.
What else do they do?
Chemical drain cleaners can negatively affect your health, pipe integrity, and the furnishings. Regarding your health, the cleaners release harmful toxins. Inhaling said fumes could lead to breathing issues, stomach pains, etc. Concerning your furniture, if the cleaners get onto your furnishings somehow, they’ll begin corroding them, especially those made of aluminum or steel.
Drain cleaners can also corrode pipes, catalyzing the need for repairs. If you bring out the drain cleaner at the slightest suggestion of slow draining, you’ll eventually have a much larger plumbing problem.
In particular, your pipes will likely corrode much faster. Besides, if you use the cleaners to clean something they can’t, they’ll remain in your pipes for longer, which is harmful for the above reasons. Dealing with the ensuant problems will require a professional.
What are your Alternatives?
Your first step should be to identify what’s blocking your drain: is it a localized problem, or is it affecting your house’s plumbing? Slow draining throughout the house suggests a sewer line problem. In this instance, there’s no particular pipe that’s blocked. Instead, the main sewer line is probably blocked (or leaking), a problem you can’t fix on your own (unless you happen to be a plumber).
If the clogging is localized, grab a plunger or organic drain cleaner. Use the organic drain cleaner like you would its chemical counterpart, or use a plunger to unclog the blockage. If those don’t work, you can use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda. Pour between half and one cup of vinegar and baking soda down the drain, and let it settle for 15 to 20 minutes. Once settled, turn on the hot water.
If the problem still doesn’t go away, or if you have a sewer line issue, get in touch with us at Johnson Plumbing. We provide cheap commercial and residential plumbing services in Reno, NV. Contact us soon, and we’ll clear your pipes without harming them.