by The Nashville Plumber on April 18, 2014

Reasons to Avoid Chemical Drain Openers.


A slow moving drain is nearly as much of a problem for the homeowner as a fully clogged drain. Both situations present the temptation to purchase and use “over the counter” drain cleaning solutions. This is most often a bad idea, however, as there are many good reasons to avoid such products.

The first and most persuasive reason to hire a professional as opposed to attempting with chemicals to fix the problem oneself is the overall ineffectiveness of such products. At times they do not work at all, and in many other situations their efficacy is only temporary and not a 100 percent repair of the underlying problem.

There are two basic kinds of drain cleaner. One is acidic and the other alkaline. Either one are extremely caustic. Drain openers are the most toxic chemical found in many homes. The use of protective equipment is not only costly, it is also sometimes ineffective to avoid exposure to the eyes, skin and hair when using the product. Eye damage when using drain openers due to back splash is unfortunately not a rare event.

Acidic chemicals used to open drain most often contain Sulfuric Acid, which is effective in dissolving grease, hair and tissue paper but also reacts negatively with the aluminum oxide in some pipes. This can lead to extensive repair needs when leaks and further problems develop after using a product, even when it is labeled safe for plumbing fixtures. Similar reactions between alkaline chemicals and the plumbing itself have been noted, and it is a pity to try to repair a clog and wind up having to replace existing drains.

Another issue to bear in mind is the issue of potential for explosive reactions when using these products in standing water. If other chemicals have been applied, and explosion can happen projecting volumes of toxic waste water and chemicals on the person using the product. This can also rupture pipes and fixtures, and creates a real and avoidable hazard. Hiring a trained technician will always be the best alternative to keeping your property from undergoing severe pipe malfunctions. 

Dealing with a bothersome clog in your Nashville home? Call Green Hills today at (615) 866-1917 for immediate solutions! 

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