Drain Cleaners that are harmful to your piping

Plumbing Tips,Products,Residential Plumbing — Friday, December 26, 2008

Chemical Drain Cleaners that are harmful to your piping !

Any chemical drain cleaner that contains an acid such as sulphuric acid can and will harm your piping. Many off the shelf drain cleaners in a bottle can contain these acids in different amounts. The use of these drain cleaners can unclog your piping but at the same time can erode your piping from the inside out. I have noticed that some of the cleaners on the shelf contain these acids and state that they are safe for your piping! That is as far from the truth as can be. The instructions tell you to pour the solution over the clog and let it work on the clog implying that the cleaner does it all by itself. Like I said before these cleaners contain acids that can eat away metal and plastic. These are the two things that plumbing piping is made of so why would you deliberately pour these cleaners into your pipes? Just because the bottle says it’s safe for them, doesn’t mean it is!

There have been many occasions that I have been to a house for a service call to unstop a kitchen sink or sink drain in a bathroom where the owner has used one of these acidic drain cleaners before my arrival. After a few times of getting chemical burns on my hands from handling the plumbing piping under the sink I began asking the owner if they put any type of drain cleaner down the drain before I got there. Sometimes just knowing if they did before you begin undoing sink piping can help prevent the plumber from skin burns.

I made a good point about going to houses that have used chemical drain cleaners in their drains. The point is if I am there then the drain cleaner did not work very well. Also on a secondary note these same houses have had the chemicals sitting in the drain for hours. All the time the chemicals sat just eating away at the p-trap piping under the sinks causing the piping to form holes in it especially on older chrome metal p-traps. Of course there was a need to then replace the parts that might have otherwise been alright costing the customers more in the long run.

There are drain cleaners that can help dilute the clogs without harming the piping!

These drain cleaners will contain a chemical known as Sodium Hydroxide or also known as LYE. Sodium Hydroxide is caustic and not acidic. These caustic cleaners will only eat away at clogs that are organic in nature. Organic in nature means that most everything that goes down a drain  like hair, grease, soap, foods, vegetable matter, or anything that was living at one time or another or that came from something living. It will not dissolve metal, plastic or other man made materials which is what your plumbing piping is made of. Nor will it break up large objects in your piping such as foreign material that does not belong in the sewer to begin with. It also will not work well on roots in your sewer as you need to physically remove them even though they are organic.

The caustic properties however will eat away at your skin which is organic also. So be careful when applying these cleaners and wear gloves and safety glasses. As I said before it would be nice if you told the plumber that you used a chemical drain cleaner so he or she can be prepared as well. Any chemical drain cleaner can help solve minor clogs but the best prevention is maintenance of your drain piping system even with chemical drain cleaners when the drain is not actually clogged.We recommend manual cleaning of your drain lines either with a sewer snake or a water jetter machine before applying the chemical drain cleaners for maintenance.

Flow-Rite Plumbing sells its own drain cleaner for light to medium clogs and proper drain maintenance!

Give us a call today for all your Cincinnati Drain Cleaning Needsat

(513) 383-4242

As always…Why be Wrong ?…..When you can Flow-Rite !

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