We’d like to talk a little about liquid, chemical drain cleaning products.
Clogged drains are horrible. And all too common. We know. We deal with them a lot.
It’s happened many times, when cleaning out a tub drain, we’ll come across a hair clog that’s three or four feet long. That’s miles of hair.
It’s pretty gross handling these kinds of clogs, not the kind of work we dream about doing, although we’re happy to be of service. Believe us, we understand how nice it would be if every clogged drain could easily be fixed with a simple bottle of liquid. However, we never like to see someone use a liquid drain cleaning product. There are reasons why we won’t use them in our own homes.
As professional rooters and full service plumbers, we’ve seen a lot. For this reason, we strongly recommend against the use of liquid drain cleaners, altogether; not just because the chemicals are harder on your plumbing systems than the mechanical drain cleaning methods we use, but also because they’re environmental and safety hazards, as well.
This is so important to us, we’ll charge you extra if you ask us to clean out a line that’s been contaminated by sewer cleaning liquid products.
We’ll get into why further down this article, but first, let’s explain what are these drainage cleaner products:
What are liquid chemical drain cleaners?
You’ve probably seen advertisements for them on TV, they’re commonly sold in local markets. Some brands are more popular than others, but these often lye-based, and concentrated acid-based household products are sold in several forms.
Usually, the main active ingredients are sodium hydroxide (lye), and sodium hypochlorate (bleach), along with other chemicals as well. Some use hydrochloric or sulfuric acid.
Why we don’t recommend liquid drain cleaners:
Plumbing & Sewer System Wear and Tear
Even though chemical drain cleaners are legal to sell and advertise, and they will even say on the bottle they’re safe, and “won’t damage pipes,” as experienced plumbers, it’s been our observation, that simply isn’t true.
When you pour liquid drain cleaners into clogged drains, several chemical reactions take place that can damage your sewer lines and plumbing.
Lye-based chemicals break down organic matter, at the same time, other compounds react and generate heat. This softens and decomposes clogs like hair and grease, but can cause porcelain toilets to crack, softens PVC pipes, and corrodes metal piping systems. They also eat at some glues that seal pipes together.
Acid-based chemicals also break down organic compounds, and also generate heat as part of their chemical reaction, but also rapidly erode metal pipes.
Something to keep in mind, these products are designed to flow through a slow drain, not to fix a clogged line. If the liquid cleaner doesn’t immediately break your sewer line, it’ll still cause accumulating damage to plumbing systems, especially if it sits in a clogged line for an extended period of time.
Even if they do unclog a line, regular use of liquid sewer line cleaners will decrease the lifespan of your sewer pipes, which makes a broken sewer line a more likely situation, and will cost you a lot more to repair than using the line cleaning methods we use.
Harmful to the Environment
Whatever you pour into your drain will eventually be released back into the environment. This is a serious concern with lye-based and acid-based chemicals found in common liquid drain cleaners. Lye, hydrochloric acid, and sulfuric acid are all caustic, change the pH of water bodies, and can cause tissue damage in wildlife.
The compounds in these drainage cleaner products are also highly reactive. If mixed with other commonly used household products, they may cause violent chemical reactions, and/or release poisonous and toxic gasses.
Drainage cleaner products contain lye, or concentrated acids, which are caustic, and damage hair and living tissues. This is a serious concern for people with pets and children.
Lye and concentrated acid can cause severe burns when it comes into contact with your skin, and is a severe problem if it splashes in your eyes. Lye can kill animals and people alike if they drink it, too!
Also, because chemical drain cleaners are highly reactive, they can release poisonous and toxic chemical gases when mixed with other common cleaners, sometimes with violent results. The rapid release of these toxic chemicals can cause splashing of caustic liquids onto exposed skin and into the eyes, or if the gasses are inhaled, a fatal reaction.
Because of these serious safety hazards, we don’t like servicing sewer lines that’ve been contaminated by these dangerous chemicals.
We Charge You Extra
We’d really like to emphasize this: you won’t be saving money by using a liquid chemical drain cleaner.
Not only is this a short term solution that greatly reduces the lifespan of your sewer line, but if you’ve poured a drainage cleaner product into your drain, it doesn’t work, your line is still clogged, and then give us a call, we’re going to charge you an additional fee.
Just like how liquid sewer pipe cleaners add extra wear and tear to your sewer lines, they also seriously damage and corrode our plumbing equipment. The cost to repair our equipment can sometimes cost us more than what we charge you for the service call to clear your sewer.
We don’t mind handling many kinds of dirty messes, that’s part of the job, and we know it. We can get cleaned up, and be done with it, but handling caustic chemicals means getting chemical burns, and that’s not something we ever want to take on.
For these reasons, if one of our plumbers detects drainage cleaner product in your sewer line, we will charge you an additional fee of $30 to clear that line.
It’s pretty hard to beat our $78 price point to have your toilets, kitchen sink, basin sink, shower, bath tub, or laundry line cleared. If your drain is slow, or clogged, don’t use a liquid cleaner.
We’ll handle any plumbing emergency, any time, just give us a call at 626.448.6455