We realize a plumber isn’t always the first person you want to call when you have an issue with your plumbing. Many people would prefer to solve the problem on their own rather than pay a professional, especially when dealing with a clogged drain. We recommend your resourcefulness and frugality- but we strongly caution you. Don’t cause more problems in the future than a quick fix is worth.
Your Guide to Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners are the most hazardous household chemicals you can buy today. We continue to pour them down our drains on a regular basis. There are three main kinds of chemical drain cleaners. Here are just a few things to keep in mind:
Caustic drain cleaners contain substances such as caustic potash or lye. These alkaline chemicals create heat and turn tough clogs into more pliable material that is more readily dissolved. They are heavier than water, enabling them to power through standing water.
Oxidizing drain cleaners can contain household bleach, nitrates and peroxides and cause the organic material in a clog to oxidize. They are also heavier than water and release heat and gas to remove the clog.
Acidic drain cleaners are not readily available in stores and can be so dangerous they are often only sold to licensed plumbers. They contain high concentrations of sulfuric acid and react chemically with the clog, creating heat and gas to clear the clog.
All chemical drain cleaners are extremely toxic if accidentally ingested and oftentimes cause more long-term damage than they are worth. Many times they will corrode older metal pipes and can soften PVC. They are harmful to septic systems and the environment and can even cause explosions if used improperly.
We hope you will call us first the next time you face a clog. If you do decide to use chemical drain cleaners, please read the directions carefully and heed all of the warning labels.