Is Drano Bad For Your Pipes?
You come home and notice that your bathroom sink is clogged. What do you do? Most people automatically reach for a chemical drain cleaner like Drano. This may seem like an easy fix but is not the best solution. Is Drano bad for your pipes and plumbing?
What is Drano?
Drano is a lye-based household drainage cleaner product sold in several forms. You can purchase most chemical drain cleaners in liquid, gel, foam and in course power forms. They consist of aluminum, salt, bleach, sodium nitrate and lye.
How it Works
When you pour Drano down a drain, several chemical reactions happen at the same time. The main ingredient, sodium hydroxide or lye, decomposes organic matter, including hair and grease. When lye mixes with small pieces of aluminum, a strong reaction is created that generates near-boiling heat. The high heat speeds up decomposition.
Tap water also reacts with lye, producing more heat and softening drain scum. Lye then reacts with the grease, creating soap that the hot water dissolves. Once again it reacts with the aluminum to form hydrogen bubbles. The bubbles loosen the clogs and the hot water to carry it all down the drain. All these reactions happening at once are much more than most residential drains and pipes can handle.
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What Are The Dangers?
As Drano has the ability to dissolve virtually any organic matter, if it comes in contact with your skin or eyes, the damage can be devastating. The liquid can easily splash up out of the sink and burn your eyes, skin, and lungs. Inhaling the fumes can also cause serious damage to your lungs. Drano and other products might create toxic fumes if they react together.
When it exits your sewage or plumbing system, it can quickly contaminate the water supply, harming plants and animals which drink it.
Damage to your Plumbing System
Drano sits in a pipe until the clog dissolves, continually reacting and generating heat. Even using Drano once can cause toilet bowls to crack, PVC pipes to melt or break and eats away the glue that holds pipes together. It takes at least 24 hours before it is safe to use the sink again.
Hydrochloric acid and other ingredients in them corrode all types of pipes, even copper ones. Older pipes are especially prone to corrosion. Crystal cleaners can also damage your garbage disposal and septic system. The chemicals may eat away your stainless steel, porcelain, and aluminum bathroom fixtures.
Although these cleaners may temporarily dissolve clogs, they may mask the real reason the drain is clogging. The sewer line may be backed up, a pipe may be broken, or an object may be stuck in the drain. Liquid cleaners won’t fix these problems, and you need professionals like High Mark to fix them.
What causes Clogs?
So what causes clogs? Bathroom sink clogs are usually caused by long hair and toothpaste. Toilet clogs are often caused by hair, nail clippings, feminine hygiene products, dental floss, and cotton swabs. Kitchen drains become clogged by grease, vegetables, and egg shells. When grease is poured down your pipes, it solidifies once it cools down.
How do you Remove Clogs?
One way to remove clogs is by using a plunger or snake on the drain. For kitchen sink clogs, try running hot water and grease fighting liquid dish soap down the drain. Flange plungers are bell-shaped and made specifically for unclogging toilets. Simply insert the plunger in the toilet bowl and aggressively move it up down until the material breaks up and you’re able to flush.
There are host of drain cleaners available that contain natural bacteria and enzymes that eat away organic waste and aren’t harmful to your sink or pipes. Though this method may take some time, it’s the safest way to get rid of a clog.
An old-fashioned solution is mixing one cup of baking soda and one cup of apple cider vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, and then run hot water. A second home remedy uses ¼ cup of salt, ¼ cup of borax, and ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar.
If the problem is the garbage disposal, run water into it, and make sure any food scraps are pushed down the drain.
How can you Prevent Clogs?
After you take a shower or brush your teeth, run hot water down the drains. The warm water will help dissolve toothpaste and shampoo. If you have long hair, it’s a good idea to use a drain saver which catches hair. Never flush hair down the drain.
One way to get rid of clogs is to flush all of the drains in your home at the same time. Close all of your bathtub, shower, and sink drains, fill each tub or sink with warm water, and station someone at each drain or toilet. Then ask everyone to open their drains and flush the toilets at the same time.
It is a good idea to flush problematic drains weekly. Take one cup of boiling water, and slowly pour it down the drain. Why should the water be boiling? The heat helps loosen any dirt or debris in the pipes. Make sure you pour the water only down the drain, so you don’t damage the finish of your tub or shower.
To prevent clogs, rinse your drains with salt water monthly. Pour one or two tablespoons of table salt into the drain. Then pour in ¼ cup of white vinegar, and let it sit for one hour. Afterwards, run hot water into the drain for ten minutes. For the best results, repeat the process. For stubborn clogs, add ¼ cup of Borax after the salt.
What are your alternatives
With the dangers of using a chemical drain cleaner you may ask what can a home owner do? The good news is that there are other options that you can try that are better for your home.
Both a mixture of salt and water poured on a clogged drain can help remove a minor clog.
On larger clogs, try baking soda and vinegar. When combined these cause a chemical reaction that can help loosen what is blocking your pipes.
If these alternatives do not solve your blockage you may then need a professional drain cleaning. The team of High Mark is your best choice for all of your drain cleaning needs.
When you are looking for expert Vancouver Drain Service High Mark is the best choice you can make. High Mark offers our drain cleaning service in the entire lower mainland including Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody and more.
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