Dangers of Drain Cleaners

One of the most toxic household chemicals is in the everyday drain cleaner. Instead of calling a plumber when a drain slows, homeowners tend to reach for the handy and inexpensive drain cleaner. Unfortunately, drain cleaners can cost homeowners more than they expected in the long run.

Why Homeowner Use Drain Cleaners

It is understandable why homeowners turn to drain cleaners they can buy in a grocery store. They are inexpensive, easy to use, and they generally work quickly. The problem comes in the long run because drain cleaners can actually damage home plumbing system over time. Most of the commonly purchased drain cleaners contain chemicals with hydrochloric acid or sulphuric acid, which does cause damage to pipes.

Plumbers at Scott English Plumbing know how to unclog drains without using harmful chemicals. We are often called to solve the problems that the harmful drain cleaners create. Those problems happen in the lines in the home as well as those outside of the home. The drain cleaners do get into the environment and cause significant damage, too.

Protect Yourself Before Using Drain Cleaners

We recognize that our customers do use drain cleaners and they will continue to do so; therefore, we encourage them to wear safety gear before pouring the substances down the drain. First, it is important to wear safety glasses or to use a face shield. It is common for the substances to bubble back out, especially if there happens to be a big air bubble. It is also important to use nitrile gloves to protect the hands. These gloves do cost a bit more than the cheap latex ones, but they are worth it when it comes to protecting the hands from clog-eating chemicals.

Chemicals Destroy Rubber and Pipes

Along with hydrochloric acid, the popular drain cleaners at grocery stores also contain other toxic ingredients. They all have caustic bases that include lye or bleach. These substances are known to eat away at rubber, like the seal around the sink entrance into your garbage disposal. They can also have chemical reactions when they are destroying the clog in the drain. The drain cleaners only provide a temporary solution to a problem that could become expensive.

Damaging Pipes with Crystallization

Most of the drain cleaners contain acids. When acids are introduced into plumbing systems, they can actually create the bottom of the pipe to break open, especially as it rests in the catch or elsewhere. They can crystallize metal in the pipes, making them weak. As the pipes weaken, it is easy to imagine the damage that can happen in a home.

Drains include a cable that can also be damaged by the acid in drain cleaner. The cable is made of wire and once it is exposed to acids, it begins to deteriorate. Drain cables can be made of different grades of wire and if a home has low quality drain cable wire, irreversible damage can occur the first time drain cleaner is used. Otherwise, high quality drain cables can start to deteriorate after a week or a few days.

Damage Done to the Environment

Along with destroying home drains and cables, drain cleaners do damage to the environment. These caustic chemicals get pushed down the drain, where they eventually make their way into the water system in the community. The products can create unexpected chemical reactions that could send dangerous fumes into homes and neighborhoods. Using a plumber to unclog a drain is safer for families, pets, homes, and communities. It does cost significantly less that most people think.

If you have any questions about unclogging a drain, please contact Scott English Plumbing at 949-462-9773 or 714-987-9801. If you need immediately help, call our HOA Hotline at 855-HOA-PLMR.