Having a clogged drain in your home can be a hindrance to your day and frustrating for anyone to deal with, not to mention it looks and smells incredibly unpleasant! Clogged drains are common, especially so in households where the sink is often used as a substitute for a bin or toilet roll is used in excess.
A chemical drain cleaner is an effective way to blitz away debris from your drain and get a plumbing fixture functioning properly again. However, when deciding how to choose between different types of chemical drain cleaners, you want to make sure you choose one that will effectively get rid of the clog. The type of clog you are trying to clear will also have an impact on the type of drain cleaner you need.
What types of chemical drain cleaners are there?
A caustic substance is one that will destroy other substances it comes into contact with following a chemical reaction. The chemical reaction involves the distribution of electrons which dissolves thick substances like grease and soap.
The most widely used and known caustic chemicals are lye and sodium hydroxide. You will find caustic substances in a variety of house cleaning products, especially those designed for stubborn stains such as oven cleaners.
Caustic chemical cleaners for drains are often highly concentrated and emit heat and gas which helps to break down blockages. They are highly corrosive so should be used extremely carefully and in small doses.
An oxidising chemical drain cleaner gets its effectiveness from the oxidising chemical reaction that takes place when applied to a certain blockage. Often containing household bleach, nitrates and peroxides, oxidising compounds break down substances they come into contact with by causing them to lose electrons and producing gas and heat, creating a fizzing effect.
How efficacious an oxidising agent is depends on the length of time it is left on a substance, how much of it there is, and the heat present. Oxidised drain cleaners are heavier than water which allows them to break through standing water. Because of the release of gas and heat, it can then disintegrate the blockage in the water and allow it to flow out of the drain.
Acidic drain cleaners are the most potent of all and can’t be found in supermarkets. Acid drain cleaners are only sold to licensed plumbers, so for really stubborn drain clogs, you may have to call out a plumber to resolve it.
Due to the high concentrations of hydrochloric and sulphuric acid in this type of drain cleaner, the present hydronium ions react with the substances in a clog. This reaction gives off heat and then melts the clog. Acidic drain cleaners can work to dissolve almost any kind of organic matter.
How do I know which one to use?
When choosing between the different types of chemical cleaner, deciding the one you need will depend on the kind of clog you have and wherein the home it is.
Oxidising drain cleaners are best suited to toilets, shower drains, and bathroom sinks due to their ability to beneficially dissolve organic matter.
Caustic drain cleaners work best in kitchen sinks and clogged dishwasher drains because they work well to eradicate grease. The chemical reaction that takes place with caustic substances helps to thin stubborn grease like the kind you find in food blockages.
Acidic drain cleaners should only be used as a very last resort. These are incredibly harmful and if the worst-case scenario does occur, then you should call a professional plumber to use this kind of drain cleaner.
Problems with chemical drain cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners, especially if used regularly, can be incredibly damaging to your plumbing system. Over time they can cause pipes to crack or burst due to their corrosive nature.
It’s not only your plumbing system that chemical drain cleaners can be damaging towards, but your health, too. The harsh chemical fumes released from these cleaners are damaging to the body when inhaled and can have detrimental effects on human health. They are also damaging to the environment when poured into drainage systems.
There are more environmentally friendly and natural options for cleaning your drain which is less harmful. However, they are less effective in cleaning blockages in drains.
Need help unblocking a drain?
The above should have given some clarity on how to choose between different types of chemical drain cleaners. If there’s a drain in your house you are struggling to unblock, or are reluctant to use chemical drain cleaners, then why not call a professional plumber to fix it?
Same Day Trades can assist with any plumbing problems for commercial and residential properties in Hilton. Get in touch with us today to find out more or book an appointment.