If you are a homeowner, you already know how frustrating clogged or slow-moving drains can be. It’s natural to reach for a timely solution, like liquid plumbers, to whisk away the clogs and return your life to normal. The problem is: while liquid plumbers can provide a quick solution to your woes, they can also cause damage to your plumbing if they are not used with caution. Consider the effects of liquid plumbers on your pipes before you rely on them to solve your plumbing problems.
How Do Liquid Plumbers Work?
Liquid plumbers come in several formulas designed to attack specific types of clogs. Nearly all of them contain lye (sodium hydroxide) and bleach (sodium chloride). The two chemicals work together to create a chemical reaction that releases heat. The heat dissolves grease and organic matter, while the bleach eats through soap scum and hair. Some formulas also contain peroxide to create a foaming action that coats the pipes and removes residues.
Are Liquid Plumbers Safe?
Liquid plumbers are safe for occasional use to get your drains flowing freely again. They are easy to use and restore your drains to normal function within 15 minutes if the source of the clog is a simple buildup of soap scum and residue in the drain. They may work on tougher clogs by eating away the residue around an object and allowing the water to flow around the clog, giving you the impression that your problems have been solved. If there is an object in the drain, though, the problem will likely return as gunk from waste water building up around it. If this is the case, you will need a plumber to remove the object from the drain.
Repeatedly using liquid plumbers on drains that clog frequently can deteriorate your pipes and do more damage in the long run. If you experience repeat clogs in the same drains, nix the use of liquid plumbers and call in the professionals instead. It will save you time and money in the long run.
Liquid plumbers are corrosive and can cause injury if handled or used improperly. Always observe the safety precautions on the container and never combine them with other ingredients. If you have used a liquid plumber in your drain and later call in a plumber, show him the container and tell him you have used it in the drain. If your plumber is unaware and uses an industrial cleaner in the drain, the chemicals may interact causing an explosion or releasing dangerous gases.
What Is ‘Occasional’ Use?
Occasional is a relative term, but generally, occasional means one to three times a year in the case of liquid plumbers. More frequent use indicates that the problems with your drains are likely more than simple clogs. If your plumbing problems are becoming more frequent and you find yourself reaching for a liquid plumber on a regular basis, it’s time to have your pipes checked for foreign objects or other issues.