Chemical Drain Cleaners: A Handy Yet Worrisome Drain Clog Solution

how drain cleaners work

Anytime you see your kitchen sink is draining water very slowly, or that water floods the bathroom, you surely know that action is required. One of the first things that comes to your mind is probably that there is an obstruction in the drain pipe. You probably don’t have the tools or skills to address the problem. Therefore,  you rush to the nearest hardware store and purchase some chemical drain cleaners as a solution.

Chemical drain cleaners are affordable and easy to use, so it looks like you can get the job done without even physically touching the drain pipe at the end of the day. In reality, however, drain cleaners composed of chemicals are more problematic than they may appear to be.

How Chemical Drain Cleaners work:

Chemcial drain cleaners are available in many different forms. Some examples are liquid, solid (stick), beads, powder, gel, or foam. All of these different forms still work with more or less the same method. Once poured into a sink or drain, the cleaners produce chemical reactions with the clog (or debris) itself that is obstructing the flow of water.

This chemical reaction generates heat that works to disintegrate accumulation of the debris inside the pipe. When this reaction occurs, the clog is broken down into smaller pieces. These smaller pieces are easier for water to push through. This reaction only happens because most drain cleaners are made of strong chemicals. Examples of these chemicals are peroxide, lye, bleach, nitrate, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, or caustic potash.  

Chemical Drain Cleaners Can Have High Toxicity Levels

Unfortunately, the aforementioned chemicals are also toxic. Inhalation of a fraction of any of the chemicals can cause serious medical conditions. As soon you open the container, the chemicals contained in the cleaner can release noxious fumes. These chemicals may also cause damage to the eyes, skin, and mucous membranes when inhaled or swallowed. If stored improperly, drain cleaners can spill or explode as well.

What most people do not realize is that the chemicals in drain cleaners are also strong enough to kill beneficial bacteria in their septic systems.  If you have a septic system, this is an important fact to keep in mind.  

Chemical Drain Cleaners Can Create Heat That Damages Pipe

Because the ingredients in chemical drain cleaners generate heat, they can also soften PVC – a common material used in residential plumbing today. Damage from drain cleaning products is more likely to occur when drain cleaner is used on older drain systems. Particularly older frail or brittle metal pipes.

Drain cleaners are not smart; they cannot tell the difference between the actual clog and your pipes. So they just eat everything in its way as long as the reaction produces enough heat. Therefore if the clog stays there inside the pipe after you pour enough drain cleaner, it is not always a bad thing.

Pipe damage due to the use of drain cleaners is more expensive to repair than an actual clog. You may need to replace the pipe entirely in fact. This is especially true if you routinely use chemical drain cleaners to clear clogs.  

Consider other drain cleaning options

Before pouring chemical drain cleaners into your sink, take pause. Please consider the possibility that slow draining or clogging can be caused by other issues. These could include a damaged pipe, a solid object getting stuck in your drain strainer, or a grease stoppage. If that is the case, a drain cleaner cannot solve the problem regardless.

Store bought drain cleaners can be effective too, but due to their high toxicity levels, some products are sold only to professionals. Knowledgeable plumbers know when, where, and how to use the chemicals so that the risk of health issues and pipe damage can be minimized. In many cases an electronic sewer cleaning machine or a water jet is required. Because a Professional Drain Cleaner has a full assortment of tools in their arsenal, they typically clear any clog the 1st time, and without damaging any of your plumbing.

Trust the Balkan Drain Team | Your Best Local Drain Service

Balkan Plumbing, a Queens-based drain service company, has recently expanded its services to Nassau County. The Balkan Team only uses non-caustic, non-fumigating, and non-systemic drain cleaning solutions that do not contain copper sulfate, diquat dibromide, or metam sodium.

In addition, in all cases Balkan always uses the more environment-friendly methods and applications including hydro-jet and power auger before utilizing the cleaner. Contact the Balkan Drain Team for courteous and professional service.

A little bit about the Village of East Rockaway

With just less than 10,000 residents, East Rockaway is one of the least populated areas in Nassau County. Originally named Near Rockaway, it was a free port so that ships were allowed to unload their cargo without any cost. Those days are now gone, but it does not mean that the Village of East Rockaway is any less active than it used to be.

Despite its relatively small size, the village has an active recreational department, which offers plenty of attraction and performances. Just like with many other small communities in Nassau County, East Rockaway has a lot to offer, particularly in the Summertime.