Chemical drain cleaners are a convenient way to bust clogs. Unfortunately, they pose some serious risks to your plumbing system.
Any chemical strong enough to remove a blockage in your drain can also ruin your pipes. Here’s why:
These cleaners produce heat that can damage or warp soft plastic or old, metal pipes. In completely blocked drains, the chemicals will sit in one spot until they completely erode the clog. Meanwhile, they’re eating away at the same section of the pipe. This is especially true if you have weak, older pipes that are made out of metal.
Chemical drain cleaners come in three main varieties. Oxidizing cleaners are things like peroxides, nitrates or bleach. Meanwhile, caustic cleaners are generally made out of caustic potash and lye. With acid cleaners, you will generally see ingredients like muriatic or sulfuric acid.
All drain cleaners use an electron-transfer process. This means they will either add or remove electrons from an organic substance like food or hair. When this transfer happens, it causes heat to be produced. The heat works to break down the clog.
If the clog is made out of fat, oil or grease, this technique will not work. Instead of actually breaking down the material, the drain cleaner will only cause the material to move to a different part of the drain. Once this material builds up in another location, you will most likely need a professional plumber to remove the build-up in the drain line.
Bottom line: If you have an especially tough clog, you’re better off calling a professional plumber. We have tools such as augurs and hydro-jets that remove blockages safely and effectively. Spare your pipes the unnecessary damage and call the pros at Michael’s Plumbing Service. To schedule an appointment, call (615) 645-2322.