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How Drain Cleaners Can Prevent Clogged Drains

Clogged drains lead to water backing up into walls and floors, damaging them. Getting your gutters cleaned regularly can prevent these problems.

Drain Cleaners

Liquid drain cleaners contain ingredients that create heat during a chemical reaction with the clog to remove debris and clear the blockage. They’re typically easy to use and require little instruction. For professional help, contact Philadelphia Drain Cleaners now!

Chemical drain cleaners are available in liquid, gel and powder form and promise to dissolve hair, grease, food and other substances that clog drains. They’re quick, easy to use and offer a seemingly attractive solution to problematic plumbing problems. But a closer look at these powerful cleaners reveals some serious flaws.

Most reputable plumbers discourage the use of chemical drain cleaners. They argue that the chemicals damage pipes, causing holes and cracks that ultimately need to be repaired. Additionally, chemical drain cleaners often release dangerous fumes that can irritate the nose, eyes and throat. Long-term exposure can lead to respiratory problems, such as coughing and wheezing.

One of the primary ingredients in most chemical drain cleaners is sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye. This corrosive chemical can cause chemical burns if it comes into contact with the skin or eyes and can also aggravate asthma sufferers. Chemicals like these can also be harmful to the environment if they seep into groundwater and contaminate ecosystems, according to Hull Plumbing Inc.

Another big issue with chemical drain cleaners is their limited effectiveness. They often work only on surface clogs and not those that are further down the pipe. They’re also a temporary solution and won’t prevent future blockages from occurring. Recurring clogs usually indicate that there’s a bigger problem with your plumbing system.

The primary way that chemical drain cleaners work is by creating a reaction with the water in your pipes. This reaction forms a chemical compound that breaks down the clog. However, this process can be damaging to your pipes if it’s done repeatedly or if the chemicals are too strong.

The primary risk associated with chemical drain cleaners is the harm that they can do to human health. The strong chemicals can irritate the nose, eyes and skin, and can cause breathing problems if inhaled. If swallowed, these cleaners can be toxic, resulting in diarrhea, vomiting that contains blood and even shock or death, according to Medline Plus. The best way to avoid these dangers is to never use chemical drain cleaners, and instead take preventive measures to keep your drains clear of clogs.

Oxidizing Drain Cleaners

Typically made of bleach, peroxides or nitrates, these household products release oxygen when poured down the drain. This oxidation causes the materials that make up the clog to lose electrons, which helps break down and dissolve hair, soap scum, grease and food particles. Oxidizing cleaners are also heavier than water, which allows them to sink through standing water and reach the clog.

Caustic drain cleaners are harsh chemicals like lye and caustic potash that work in a similar way to oxidizing drain cleaners, but with a much more toxic reaction. They generate heat by mixing with the clog material to dissolve it, which can cause chemical burns on skin and eyes and be dangerous to breathe. These cleaners can also corrode pipes.

All chemical drain cleaners should be used sparingly and with caution. Many of these cleaners are highly toxic to humans and pets, and can be harmful if mixed with other types of cleaning products. The acids in acidic cleaners can eat through pipes, and may need to be used several times to completely dissolve a clog. Caustic cleaners can irritate the skin and mucous membranes, and are especially dangerous to use around children and elderly people.

The other danger with these products is that they can enter the environment and poison birds, fish and wetland organisms. They can also seep into groundwater and contaminate water supplies. When poured down the drain, they can also travel to waste treatment plants and pollute the surrounding area.

One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is using one type of drain cleaner then following it up with another. This can cause a reaction that produces chlorine gas, which is not only dangerous to those in the immediate area, but can also eat through pipes and damage fixtures. Mixing acidic and caustic cleaners can also create a deadly chemical, called hydrogen chloride, that can eat through metal.

It’s best to avoid these chemical drain cleaners entirely and opt for natural, eco-friendly alternatives. While it might take a little more effort, these safe options will not only protect your pipes and the environment but can also be just as effective against most clogs.

Bacteria-Based Drain Cleaners

These eco-friendly drain cleaners introduce living bacteria and enzymes that consume and digest organic waste. Unlike caustic chemical cleaners, they don’t corrode pipes or leave behind toxic residue. While they may take longer to work than chemical products, they’re safe for pipes and the environment. Bacteria-based drain cleaners are ideal for use on hair, soap scum, grease, food, and other organic waste that can build up in your pipes and cause slow or blocked drains.

While these bio-based drain cleaners are effective for clearing partial blockages, they’re best used as a preventive measure to keep clogs from developing in the first place. They are especially useful in restaurants and other businesses that generate a lot of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) that can clog drain lines. They can also be used to maintain septic systems and grease traps.

Like other natural drain cleaners, bacterial cleaners don’t produce any heat or fumes while working, making them safer for the environment and your pipes than chemical products. They’re also non-toxic and biodegradable, so they won’t pollute the water or harm wildlife. Like other natural drain cleaners, bacterial drain cleaners won’t clear a stubborn, long-term clog, but they can dissolve small amounts of hair and other debris that accumulate in your pipes over time.

Avance Bacteria Drain Maintainer, for example, is a septic-safe drain cleaner that contains billions of live spore-forming bacteria that digest fats, oils, and grease in your plumbing system. It can also be used to maintain septic tanks and grease traps, helping to avoid back-ups, clogs, and malodors.

When looking for a drain cleaner that’s safe for your pipes, septic system, and the environment, be sure to read the product labels and reviews carefully. Avoid any product that claims to be “caustic” or uses chemicals to scour your pipes. Chemicals erode pipes and can leave behind toxic residue that’s dangerous to touch, breathe, or wash down your sinks and toilets. If you’re worried about a potential clog, try pouring baking soda and vinegar down the drain to break up the gunk. If that doesn’t work, call a professional.

Natural Drain Cleaners

A natural drain cleaner uses non-toxic ingredients to dissolve organic waste and eliminate clogs without damaging pipes or causing harmful fumes. They are slow-acting and may require more time than chemical cleaners, but they are safer for your health and the environment. You can use them on bathroom and kitchen sinks, garbage disposals, and septic systems. They are also effective for preventing future blockages when used regularly.

Some of the best natural drain cleaners include baking soda and vinegar. Pouring a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the drain can often dislodge tough clogs. The reaction between the two substances is strong enough to cause a fizzing action that works to dissolve clogs and clean the pipe. If the clog is especially stubborn, you can follow up by boiling some water and flushing it down the drain.

You can also try using a snake or plunger before turning to a chemical drain cleaner. If these tools don’t work, it’s probably time to call a professional plumber. If you decide to use a chemical drain cleaner, make sure to read the label carefully. Some cleaners are designed for specific types of clogs and won’t be effective on others. Also, some can be dangerous to inhale and could irritate your skin, eyes, or throat.

Most chemical drain cleaners are corrosive and can damage your pipes over time, so they’re not ideal for older homes with steel or galvanized plumbing. They can also contaminate nearby water sources and harm wildlife. In addition, some cleaners can leave behind residual chemicals that can eat away at your pipes over time, causing leaks and serious damage to your home.