Just last week one of our RooterPLUS! drain cleaning specialists was sent to a clogged bathroom sink in Atlanta. Our technician arrived and smelled what he thought was some sort of chemical drain cleaning product. When he asked the homeowner if she had attempted to clear the blockage herself, she said, "No." Our technician proceeded to diagnose the blockage and remove the trap under the sink. Upon doing so, he was inhaling what turned out later to be about two full bottles of two different chemical drain cleaning products that had been used in the past 4 hours by her husband. He then spent the next 30 minutes vomiting in the street by his truck. So… the message here is there is inherent danger in using chemical drain cleaners and knowledge is power.
Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners use extremely corrosive chemicals to clean drains. These chemicals "eat" through materials such as hair, soap, grease, etc. These drain cleaners can be harmful and require careful handling and storage. Some ingredients commonly found in these drain cleaners include sulfuric acid and lye. The chemical reaction caused by these chemical drain cleaners dissolves the materials that clog pipes and hinder proper drainage. These chemicals can be dangerous as they are generally skin irritants and can cause serious burns or blindness. The toxic vapors from some of these chemical drain cleaners can also be harmful.
Chemical drain cleaners when used regularly can corrode or damage the plumbing connected to the drains. Additionally, chemical drain cleaners in high enough concentrations can harm the microbial bacteria necessary to help maintain septic systems.
Further, the use of chemical drain cleaners can be harmful to the environment as these toxic chemicals are flushed through the drainage system and eventually into the ground or well water.
Chemical Drain Cleaner Precautions
A chemical drain cleaner, if used without caution, can be hazardous to the operator. Handling a chemical drain cleaner with safety in mind will guarantee you can complete your task without getting hurt.
When using the drain cleaner make sure you never come in physical contact with the chemicals. It is highly suggested the user wear a pair of rubber gloves and protective goggles in case any chemicals splash out of the drain. After the operation, be sure to avoid the drain area as chemicals are likely to bubble up, which releases harmful fumes and liquids.
You should never use a chemical drain cleaner on a garbage disposal. The chemicals can linger in the garbage disposal after the work was done on the drain. If someone decided to turn on the disposal, chemicals could splash and cause bodily harm.
While operating with chemical drain cleaners, be sure to avoid using a plunger. Plungers have the potential to pull up the used chemicals which could spill on the operator. This applies both during and after using chemical drain cleaner.
It is very important not to mix different types of drain cleaner. Mixing chemicals can be a dangerous concoction especially if you mix an alkali cleaner and an acid cleaner together. The mixture has the potential to be explosive.
Do not use chemical drain cleaner on a completely clogged drain. The chemicals will remain on top of the clog and further increase the difficulty of removing the clog.
In conclusion, chemical drain cleaners can, if used properly and safely, clear some partial blockages. For all other problems, or if you would just rather have a professional do the job the right way, call us at RooterPLUS!, 770-888-1931, and we will take care of the problem for you.