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Chemical Drain Cleaners
Tips from our Expert Connecticut Drain Company
On many occasions, chemical drain cleaners have caused more harm than good. They sometimes work and do not cause any damage if they are used properly. It's important that people use them only as directed and do not overuse them. Snaking the drain is a better option if chemicals don't work or if the blockage returns periodically. American Rooter has seen repeated use or overuse of chemical drain cleaning products cause several types of severe plumbing issues. Rotted pipes, solidified chemicals, plumbing leaks, health hazards, and other costly damage are common issues that result from improper use of chemical drain cleaners.
Most chemical drain cleaners are caustic to metal pipes like cast iron or galvanized plumbing. Many homes and buildings have some metal drain plumbing inside or outside. If used improperly, the chemicals will deteriorate cast iron plumbing and galvanized drain pipes. This happens when the chemical is allowed to stay in a pipe for extended periods of time, or if it routinely flows through the pipe. Entire lengths of pipe have had the bottoms completely rotted away when chemical drain cleaners have been used too often or improperly. Other times, the pipe has begun to leak at joints or elbows where the chemical sat in the grooves between the plumbing fittings.
Pipes that have had the sidewalls or joints weakened by chemicals can be subject to further damage if the pipe is snaked afterwards. Drain snakes will expose thinned areas when it scrapes inside the pipe during cleaning. The pipe will then leak from numerous spots where the rotted pipe has pinholes from the chemical.
PVC plumbing is not immune to chemical drain cleaner damage either. American Rooter has seen improperly used chemical drain cleaners overheat or partially melt pvc plumbing. Over heated pvc can be difficult to snake or disassemble because it's likely to fall apart when it's handled. Melted pvc allows the water to leak out of the pipe and cause major damage.
Some gel and crystal drain cleaners have been known to solidify in drains. These drains can sometimes be rock solid for numerous feet. Cleaning the drain is impossible when this happens. The only safe option is to remove and replace the entire section of pipe. Attempting to snake through a solidified chemical typically results in the snake breaking through the pipe, subsequently causing a flood.
Pipes are not the only thing damaged by chemical drain cleaners. Working on drains with chemicals in them is also hazardous to plumbers and drain cleaning technicians. Workers are exposed to harsh chemicals that can cause chemical burns. The chemical drain cleaning products can cause severe burns to eyes, skin and lungs so it's always important to warn drain workers when chemicals have been used. Warning the drain company that a chemical is in the drain will prompt the drain technician to wear protective gear and avoid injury.
Leaking plumbing or broken pipes can also cause damage to other property. Pipes that spill a mixture of water with chemical cleaners cause more damage than water alone. The caustic chemicals can destroy everything it lands on. Flooring, ceilings, furniture, paintings, pictures and fabrics have all been irreversibly damaged by flooded drain water containing chemicals.
Avoid misusing chemical drain cleaners at all times; you'll avoid unnecessary damages or dangers. Do not dump a whole bottle of chemical drain cleaner because the suggested amounts did not work. Call a drain company like American Rooter instead and always give notice that the chemical is in the pipe.