A drain clog can be a frustrating problem to try and deal with. For many Glendale homeowners, a drain clog means a trip to the hardware store to select a chemical drain cleaner. Unfortunately, chemical drain cleaners, though convenient, can often cause many problems with your plumbing system.

To help you avoid issues while you’re taking care of your home, it’s important to understand the risks involved with these cleaners as well as the alternative cleaning options available to you. From the drain cleaning experts at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing Electrical, who never use chemical drain cleaners, here are some insider tips on keeping your drains flowing freely.

What Are Chemical Drain Cleaners?

Chemical drain cleaners are specially formulated from various ingredients to break up clogs without you having to touch the clog physically. Some ingredients in chemical drain cleaners include lye, caustic potash, and bleach.

Lye and caustic potash are both designed to destroy cellular bonds in the materials that make up the clog. This allows the materials to be sent down the drain, thus relieving the clog. Bleach helps to break down the clog further and disinfect the drain. The problem with all of these chemicals is that they are extremely harsh and corrosive. Thus, they can be dangerous for both you and your home’s plumbing system.

Risks to You

Lye can cause chemical burns on your skin if some accidentally splashes onto you. Likewise, caustic potash will dissolve the keratin in your skin, causing your skin to melt away. Bleach can burn your skin and discolor your clothing. Other potential side effects of coming into contact with chemical drain cleaners include blindness, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, and more.

If you ever do have to use a chemical drain cleaner for some reason, it’s vital to use all of the manufacturer-recommended personal protective equipment, including gloves, safety glasses, and, potentially, a chemical-resistant apron. It also goes without saying that you need to store chemical drain cleaners in a secure cabinet so that children and pets can’t get to them.

Risks to Your Home’s Plumbing System

The same ingredients that make chemical drain cleaners dangerous for your skin also make these cleaners dangerous for your home’s plumbing system. In order to work its way through the clog in your drain, the clog remover has to sit in the drain pipe for quite some time. This allows the caustic and corrosive chemicals in the clog remover to begin to eat away at the plastic, copper, or metal in the pipe.

If you have frequent clogs, this process could eat away so much of the pipe material that you end up with multiple leaks along your drain line. This is an especially big risk if you have older pipes whose materials are already compromised due to age. Plus, once these chemicals drain out of your home, they pose a major threat to the environment.

Why Chemical Cleaners Often Don’t Work

There’s another big reason why Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing Electrical recommends against using chemical drain cleaners — they often don’t work. For many clogs, physical agitation is the only force that will effectively remove the hair, food particles, or other debris that is lodged in your drain pipe. Chemical drain cleaners don’t use any type of physical agitation. Instead, they rely entirely on chemical processes to break down the materials in the clog until your drain opens up.

However, as powerful as some drain cleaners are, the materials found in some clogs are hard for the cleaners to dissolve. This means that you’ll end up in a sticky situation because someone will have to put some type of clog remover down the drain that already has a chemical drain cleaner in it. This makes it much more likely that some of the cleaner will splash out of the drain and cause chemical burns. Instead of putting yourself or a plumber at risk, it’s best to skip chemical drain cleaners entirely.

Other Drain-cleaning Options

When a plumber Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing Electrical comes to your home to remove a clog, they will first try to use a tool called a drain snake. A drain snake is essentially a long, flexible piece of metal with a hook on one end. On the other end is a handle that rotates a drum that is attached to the piece of metal. As you rotate the drum and the metal rod, it allows the hook on the end of the rod to grab onto the pipe walls, pulling itself further into the drain.

When the hook meets a clog, it grinds against the clog until it breaks it apart. Once the clog is gone, the plumber only has to rinse the drain with some hot water, and your drain will work as good as new. In some cases, a plumber may also use a hydro-jetting machine that sends a powerful stream of water down the drain line to remove a stubborn clog.

How to Protect Your Drains

While it’s good to know that clogs are no match for the professional plumbers at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing Electrical, it’s still a good idea to take care of your home’s drain lines to prevent clogs from forming. One great way to help prevent clogs is to avoid pouring various types of cooking fats down the drain. These can build up on the walls of the drain until the flow of water is completely stopped.

To prevent hair and other debris from going down the drain in your shower, you should always have some type of strainer in place that can catch the hair and hold it in place until you can throw the hair away. To help keep your drains clean, you can pour boiling water down the drain lines once a month to help break up any blockages that are beginning to form before they have a chance to become a full-fledged drain clog.

Plumbing Inspections

Another great plumbing maintenance item that Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing Electrical recommends is scheduling an annual plumbing inspection. During a plumbing inspection, a plumber will send a camera down your home’s drain lines to check for any potential problems. In addition to clogs, plumbers can use this camera to look for roots growing through the walls of the pipe and cracks or breaks in the pipe joints.

During the inspection, they will also inspect the supply side of your plumbing system to ensure there are no leaks or major corrosion that could cause problems. By catching these problems early, you’ll be less likely to run into an inconvenient plumbing emergency.

Your Plumbing Experts

At Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing Electrical, we take pride in our extensive knowledge of various plumbing tasks. That’s why we’re able to install water heaters, clean drains, repair sewer lines, repair burst pipes, install water softeners, and do many more plumbing-related services with excellence.

We can also install electrical panels, perform electrical upgrades, install air conditioners, repair furnaces, maintain ducts, and take care of a variety of other home services. With more than 40 years in business, you can have confidence that we’ll treat you with the respect you deserve. That’s why we’re rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau and consistently receive five-star customer reviews. To learn more about properly removing clogs, contact us at Christian Brothers Air Conditioning Plumbing Electrical today.

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