Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Before Using Liquid Drain Cleaners… Think Again

Anthony's Plumbing

July 1, 2020 - Wednesday

Before Using Liquid Drain Cleaners… Think Again

Let’s play “what if?” What if you have a drain that is slow or clogged in your kitchen or bathroom? In that case, calling a plumber might not be your first choice. Most people believe that using a commercial liquid drain cleaner you buy in the store is cheaper and requires very little effort, so why call for professional help. Actually, there are a number of reasons: your pipes, your health and the often poor performance of liquid drain cleaners, just to name a few.

Care For Your Pipes

Most liquid drain cleaners work by creating a chemical reaction right inside your drainpipe, often with the help of hydrochloric acid. These reactions typically generate heat, and that heat can do some irreversible damage to the pipe itself.

This is especially true if the cleaner doesn’t do a quick or complete job of dissolving the clog because the liquid chemicals will just sit on top of the clog while the chemical reaction is concentrated on one small section of the pipe.

If the pipe is plastic, the high heat could partially melt and deform the material. Metal pipes are more resilient, but the heat can weaken the metal in such a way that cracks and leaks become more likely down the line. This is especially true for older pipes.

Protect Your Health

If drain cleaning chemicals can do that kind of damage to your pipes, just imagine what they can do to you. The fumes released from the use of these products may prove irritating to the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.

Though not all drain cleaner formulas are the same, some may cause burns if you accidentally get them on your skin. Even worse is if you accidentally get some in your eyes, which is why it’s a good idea to always wear safety goggles and avoid splashing if you use these products.

Get Your Money’s Worth

Even if you manage to avoid damaging your pipes or compromising your health, there’s never a guarantee that a drain cleaner will be effective. The sad reality is: if the clog is caused by anything other than a simple hairball or grease buildup, the drain cleaner is unlikely to help at all.

One of the greatest advantages of calling a plumber to clear a drain is the ability to diagnose the cause of the clog. If there’s a break in a pipe that’s allowing other material to push inside, or if the root cause is located deeper in your drainage system, using a liquid drain cleaner is a complete waste of money.

Try Elbow Grease

Instead of immediately reaching for the bottle of liquid chemicals, try clearing a clogged drain the old fashioned way: use a plunger. Just be sure to practice proper plunger technique for the best possible results.

If that doesn’t work, you may be able to clear the drain on your own using a plumbing snake. There are scaled-down versions that can be powered by almost any electrical drill. They aren’t quite as powerful as the ones plumbers use, but they’re more than enough for your usual hair or grease clogs. Some people have found that a wire hangar can be effective if you bend the end to create a small “L” shape and use that to pull up any hairballs that may be causing the blockage.

Do you have a clog that needs clearing? Try the plunger, the snake or the wire hangar if you’re the DIY type, but resist the urge to choose the chemical solution. If you can’t extract the obstruction on your own, relying on the expertise of your local plumbing professional is always the preferred option. If you need us, we are here 24/7 for all your plumbing needs. Call Anthony’s Plumbing at: (909) 823-3807!

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