What you should know about liquid drain cleaners before it goes down the drain

Clogged drains can be really frustrating. Once you notice the water draining a little slower, you hope it will just work itself out. It never does though. It might seem like reaching for some handy liquid drain cleaner to pour down the drain would be the easiest way to go, but is it the best way to go? Some people are surprised to learn that some good, old-fashioned manual methods are often preferable to the latest liquid cleaners. Before you need to call your friendly plumbers in Surrey, take a minute to learn a bit more about what you can do to keep your drains clean.

What are liquid drain cleaners?

There are actually several types of liquid drain cleaner. The two most common types are those that work by chemicals and those that work by enzymes (more on those later). Typically, chemical drain cleaners are made out of a combination of chemicals, one of which is usually sodium hydroxide, also known as caustic acid or lye. They work by dissolving any organic material in your drains or pipes.

Are chemical drain cleaners safe?

If handled properly, chemical drain cleaners can be considered safe. That being said, they’re extremely powerful substances and mistakes in handling them can be disastrous. In fact, chemical drain cleaner is often one of the most dangerous substances people keep in their homes.

Chemical drain cleaners are designed to dissolve things. If used often enough, they can even dissolve the pipes they were meant to clean. Similarly, depending on which cleaner you’re using, they may be particularly damaging to ceramic, a common material in the construction of sinks. Perhaps more alarmingly, if some lye-based chemical cleaners come into contact with other kinds of cleaners, the chemicals can react, causing lye to aerosolize and potentially poison your air. That would definitely cost you more than a call to your North Vancouver plumbers.

What are some alternatives?

The other main liquid cleaner works through enzymes. Enzymes eat organic material in a way that is not even potentially toxic to humans and break down any food debris or hair that may be hiding in your pipes. The only issue with them is that they take a long time to do their job and often don’t do them as well as simply manually removing the block.

It may come as a bit of a surprise but plungers and snakes are the best defense against clogged drains. They’re cheap, effective, safe, and reliable. The only problem is you might get a little messy and they only work best for clogs relatively close to the drain.

Of course, if you’ve given it your best shot and your drains simply won’t unclog, it’s time to call in the professionals. We at Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating Ltd. are proud to serve our customers in the Burnaby, North Vancouver and Surrey areas. Contact us today if you’re looking for plumbers to help with your clogged drains.

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