One of the most common plumbing problems homeowners encounter are clogged drains. With drain cleaners readily available in stores, it’s tempting to grab one and pour it down the drain. But not every clog can be solved with drain cleaner! In this blog, Solution Based Plumbing, Heating, and A/C explains the answer to the question, “How does drain cleaner work?”
So, How Does Drain Cleaner Work?
Chances are that if you’ve found your way to this article, you’re already dealing with a clogged pipe. (But if you’re looking for clog prevention tips, we’ve got those, too!) As you stand in the cleaning products aisle, you might start to wonder, how does drain cleaner work? That answer varies based on the type of cleaner and the cause of the clog.
Clots caused by grease are best treated by a cleanser that will heat the clog, thus softening it and allowing it to pass. On the other hand, a clog from hair is better dissolved with a biological reaction agent. Therefore, knowing what caused the clog is necessary before choosing what type of cleaner to buy.
Types Of Drain Cleaners
Homeowners beware: some cleaners may be damaging to your pipes, to your septic system, and/or to your garbage disposal system.
- Over-the-Counter Chemical Cleaners: These cleaners are easy to find in stores. They work by loosening or heating the clogs. This allows whatever material was clogging the pipes to dissolve or push down through the pipes. Typically, after 15 minutes of the solution sitting in the pipes, flushing with hot water is the final step. Read the instructions on the bottle to be sure.
- Direct-to-Plumber Acid Cleaners: These cleaners are only sold to plumbers. They’re extremely powerful, and must be handled very carefully to avoid painful chemical burns. These cleaners should only be used by professionals, and they may be effective against tough clogs that over-the-counter cleaners can’t handle.
- “Green” and DIY Cleaners: Generally, these cleaners are considered the safest. They are gentle and environmentally friendly. This means there’s less chance of damaging your pipes. On the flip side, they can take much longer to work – hours instead of minutes – and the results are not always as desired. Several doses may be required, and even then, the clog may not be cleared.
When to Call a Professional
Many people are tempted to try drain cleaner instead of calling in a professional. We advise you to take caution when treating a clog yourself. If you use the wrong cleaner, you can cause more harm than good, and it may not solve the problem. In addition, it’s always worth having a professional plumber take a look and figure out if the problem is more than just a small clog. When in doubt, contact the team at Solution Based Plumbing, Heating, and A/C for all your HVAC and plumbing needs.