Are drain cleaning chemicals doing more harm than good?

Drain cleaning chemicals are often the first resort for homeowners who have a blocked sink or drain in their Sydney home. However, these chemicals are very powerful and can cause more harm than good if used incorrectly.

Different kinds of chemical drain cleaners

There are three types of drain cleaning chemicals - caustic, oxidising and acid. Caustic drain cleaners contain lye that releases heat, making it effective for liquifying and clearing grease from drains. Oxidising cleaners contain bleach and nitrates that cause organic material to lose electrons and become oxidised. Acid drain cleaners can only be purchased by licensed plumbing professionals. They contain a high amount of sulphuric or hydrochloric acid and can be incredibly dangerous for your health and pipes if they are not used correctly.

All of the above drain cleaners create an electron-transfer. The chemicals either take away or give electrons to the organic substance, creating heat that helps to break down the clog.

Drain chemicals can damage your pipes

Drain cleaning chemicals are only effective at clearing some blocked drains, including those caused by organic matter such as food, grease and hair. They should never be used on completely blocked drains because the chemicals won’t be able to move through the pipes. They end up sitting in the pipe, eventually eating away at it. The cleaner will cause a lot of damage, leaving you stuck with a chemically treated, hazardous clog. Chemical drain cleaners can also soften PVC pipes and can cause additional damage to old metal pipes that are already partially corroded.

Chemicals are harmful to your health and the environment

Drain cleaning chemicals are among the most dangerous cleaning products on supermarket shelves. They can cause burns to your skin and can irritate your eyes or throat if you breath in the fumes. There has been cases of children having to undergo skin graft surgery after suffering serious burns from drain cleaning chemicals.

Drain cleaning chemicals aren’t just dangerous to humans, they are also bad for our waterways and the environment. When we attempt to unclog drains with these chemicals, we are essentially pouring caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) or sulphuric acid into our waterways, both of which are highly corrosive chemicals.

The best solution for blocked drains

Finding out the exact cause of a blocked drain in your Sydney home is the most important step in finding a solution. Drainage plumbers can conduct a CCTV drain camera inspection of pipes that will reveal the underlying problem. This information can then be used to recommend targeted, long-lasting repairs.

If it turns out to be a simple blockage such as a bathroom sink blocked by hair, it’s better to use mechanical methods such as plunging to clear the clog. If there are bigger problems in the outside sewer or stormwater line - such as tree roots - a Sydney drainage plumber can completely flush the blockage out of the pipes using a high-pressured jet blaster.

Having a licensed plumber inspect the blockage, diagnose the cause and repair the issue may seem like a bigger cost upfront. However, it will save you money in the long-term by preventing further damage to your pipes. Jet blasting is completely safe for your pipes are you can rest assured that the clog will be properly removed. Having the line jet blasted also minimises the chance of future clogs, because it scrubs the entire lining clean, restoring your pipes to full functionality.

If you want more information about blocked drain repairs, give the professional drain plumbers at JAB Plumbing Solutions a call on 1800 225 552.

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