The Dangers of Using Liquid Drain Cleaner

November 10th, 2017 · No Comments · by

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Many people will have a bottle or two of liquid drain cleaner in their homes for when their toilet or drain gets clogged. Although they think the product is a great way to bust through a clog, it can actually cause a big headache and result in much bigger plumbing issues to deal with.

Before we get into the issues liquid drain cleaner can cause, first we should explain what ingredients it includes and how they work.

The most common liquid drain cleaner many are familiar with the name of, is a lye-based product consisting of sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium hyprchlorate (bleach), sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (salt) and aluminum. The product works by being poured down a drain or in a toilet, where several chemical reactions then happen at the same time. The sodium hydroxide substance, which decomposes most organic matter, mixed with the small shards of aluminum create a strong reaction that generates heat at near-boiling temperatures which speeds up the decomposition process. The lye also reacts with the tap water, producing even more heat. The lye then reacts with the softened grease in the drain, creating soap that the hot water dissolves, and reacts again with the aluminum to form hydrogen bubbles. These bubbles loosen the clog particles, creating space for the hot water to carry it away. Not only does this process sound like a science experiment gone wrong, but it is more than enough for a drain to handle, as you will see next.

So why should you stay away from this DIY product and call the professionals for your plumbing issues?

Liquid drain cleaners can cause damage to your plumbing system. This may sound silly with the product being marketed and sold for plumbing purposes, but it is very true. As mentioned above, the chemical reactions caused from the liquid drain cleaner produce heat. When the product sits in a pipe until a clog dissolves, the chemical reactions continue to occur and generate heat the whole time. This can cause toilet bowls to crack, PVC pipes to soften and eventually break, older or corroded pipes to take a beating, and eat away at the glue holding pipes together.

Another reason people should stay away from liquid drain cleaner – it can cause unpredictable chemical reactions with other household cleaners if any liquid drain cleaner remains in the toilet bowl, drain, or pipes. Unless you are knowledgeable in advanced chemistry, the chemical reactions that can occur with the mixing of products can be unpredictable and can create toxic fumes. Which leads us to our next reason you should stay away from using liquid drain cleaner.

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Lastly, and arguably the most important reason you should stay away from liquid drain cleaner is the effect it can have on your health and well-being. With the ability to burn or corrode organic tissue, irritate eyes and hurt your lungs, we strongly advise our customers to stay away from using liquid drain cleaner to try and save a little bit of money. The toll you could pay is much worse than having the peace of mind that a professional has helped your plumbing problem without having any risk to your health.

If you have any plumbing issues that you are considering using liquid drain cleaner for, give DrainWorks a call instead and protect yourself and your plumbing system.

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Tags: Drains · General Interest · Home Plumbing Tips · Plumbing

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