When a kitchen or bathroom drain begins to drain slowly or clogs entirely, the first thing many people do is reach for a chemical drain cleaner to clear the blockage. While chemical drain cleaners can be effective in some situations, it's important to understadt the risks they can pose to your health and your plumbing system.
Chemical drain cleaners are available in several forms. The main ingredient in alkaline drain cleaners is usually sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide. Acidic drain cleaners contain concentrated sulphuric acid. Other chemicals commonly found in drain cleaners include bleach and lye.
Chemical drain cleaners are most effective at removing organic matter blocking the pipe near the drain opening, they are not as effective on tougher clogs that form further down the drain pipe, particularly toilet and sewer line clogs.
Drain Cleaner Safety
Because most chemical drain cleaners will cause a chemical reaction when coming in contact with the organic matter clogging the drain, it's essential that they be added slowly and that you protect your face and skin from any potential contact with the chemicals. Contact with the chemicals can cause burns, blindness and inflammation to your respiratory system.
It's also important to keep the cleaner from coming in contact with anything outside of the drain since the chemicals can corrode metal and damage other materials in your kitchen or bathroom, such as wood, paint, plastic, aluminum and fiberglass.
The Advantages of Professional Drain Cleaning
The safest and most effective way to clear clogged drains is to call a professional. A plumber will use mechanical means to physically remove the toughest blockages that chemical drain cleaners either cannot reach or won't fully dissolve.
Best of all, you won't need to store hazardous chemicals in your home, risking your family's health and potential damage to your plumbing system.
The next time you have a clogged drain emergency, call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We'll unclog your drains quickly and safely.