So you have noticed that your drain isn’t draining as fast as it would usually. It might not be fully clogged and you may have not noticed any other damage either, but the water does seem to be draining slower than usual and sticking around for a bit longer than usual. The first question you are probably asking yourself is, “what do I do now?”
Your first instinct may be to pop to your local shop and pick up some liquid chemical-based cleaner for your drain. Drain cleaners aren’t, however, as magical as they seem. In some cases, they could actually be dangerous and make your plumbing problems worse.
How Do Drain Cleaners Work?
Before we explain the potential hazards it is important to know what the different types of drain cleaners are out there.
Caustic Drain Cleaners
Caustic drain cleaners are substances that are made up of caustic potash or/and Iye. These substances are heavier than water which means they sink past the stagnant water in a clogged drain. When they interact with the substance which is blocking the drain, they add electrons to it, which generates heat in the process. This process will then make the grease more dissolvable and clears any solid solutions away. There are, however, some repercussions to this chemical reaction.
Oxidising Drain Cleaners
Oxidising drain cleaners offer a different type of chemical reaction. They take away the electrons from the clogging substance in a process called oxidation. These cleaners are made from bleach, nitrates, and peroxide and tend to create heat and gas which helps to clear the clog. There are some side effects though.
Acidic Drain Cleaners
Most drain cleaners that are sold in supermarkets are caustic or oxidising, but there are acidic cleaners too. You are more than likely to see these used in the professional industry rather than in the supermarket. It is still helpful to know how they work. These acidic cleaners melt away any clogs, however they can cause problems on certain systems.
What Are The Potential Dangers?
The first danger is toxicity. The liquid in these types of drain cleaners is toxic, which makes them extremely dangerous if you are living with pets or you have small children. Even a tiny amount of drain cleaner can cause burning and death. The fumes of these products can also be dangerous if inhaled in a poorly ventilated room. Sulfuric acid and other types of chemicals can even eat through many types of materials if handled improperly.
These chemical cleaners can also cause lasting pipe damage and even environmental damage. Older pipes are usually made of copper or other vulnerable metals which can warp or cause further damage. Even pipes created in the modern day can suffer from warping or other forms of damage from the excessive heat generated by these chemicals.
Almost all drain cleaners will cause damage to the environment as all drains lead somewhere and those chemicals don’t just disappear. Eventually, all of these chemicals will lead to the ocean, where they can damage plants and animal life. There are some new drain cleaners on the market with less of an environmental impact which we would strongly recommend if you would still like to use a drain cleaner.
What Are My Other Options?
Instead of reaching for liquid drain cleaners, you should always call professionals. A professional plumber will diagnose the problem and fix it as soon as possible without the hassle of a DIY job. Calling in a professional will fix the problem inefficiently time and will prevent further problems in the future, reducing future costs too.
Keith’s Plumbing are plumbers in Bristol who provide excellent high-quality services such as heating installation, boiler repair, and much more.