Clogged drains are one of the top plumbing issues that residents face. Whether it's a blocked kitchen sink or a slow draining bathroom sink, you are left with a smelly and messy environment. There is also the risk of other issues affecting your plumbing that you are not aware of.
You would be inclined to purchase a miracle in a bottle that quickly removes stubborn blockages inside the pipes such as hair, soap, cooking grease and food. And although it seems very convenient, you don't really know what you are putting down your drain and ultimately into your cities water system. There are many chemical drain cleaners on the market and it is beneficial to research what will work best for your unique clogged pipe problem.
Why Do Drains Block Up?
Clogs in the sink and drain can occur for a number of reasons. The most common cause is an obstruction in the pipework that is stopping the water from flowing smoothly through your pipes. Your kitchen sink is easily clogged as a lot of food preparation is done there as well as cleaning. And other drainage systems can become obstructed through daily use. Products and items that clog the drain are:
You lose a lot of hair naturally throughout the day. When you wash your hair, particularly if the strands are long, they get washed down the drain and become tangled in the walls of the pipes. Over time, the hair becomes knotted and creates a plug.
Grease is another cause of clogged drains. When you wash your hair and body with shampoo and body wash, these liquid cleaners go down the sink and can build up in the walls of the pipes. Utilising these products in excess may be too much for the condition of your plumbing.
Trapped Food Particles
During food preparation, you may accidentally wash away pieces of food. You may think that washing away some grains of rice is ok because they are small. But over time, that food will get stuck and plug up the pipe walls causing more food and other material to become lodged.
Fats and oils work with heat. When these cooking oils cool down, they will solidify. Once the hot oil touches the cool pipes, it will harden and cause a barrier and eventually clog the sink. Think about this the next time you want to pour your leftover vegetable oil.
You use liquid soaps as part of your shower routine. But these products can become like sludge and create clogs in bathroom drains. Using too much liquid soap can damage your sink and pipework. Other items and objects will combine with the soapy product and clog the water channels.
Some small household objects can become stuck in toilet drains and other sink openings around your home. Rings and other smaller jewellery pieces are at risk of slipping off fingers and getting accidentally washed down. Clogs will occur if the item is larger than the diameter of the drain pipe.
Too Much Toilet Paper
One of the biggest culprits of a blockage is too much paper being flushed down the toilet. Even though toilet paper is one of the few things that can be put down the line, using too much can impact the quality of your pipework.
The most major reason for a blocked drain is tree roots growing inside your pipework. Tree roots thrive in moist environments. A cracked pipe has water escaping from the openings and the roots will attach themselves and start growing. It won't happen overnight, but over a long period, the roots will grow and cause an obstruction, weakening the pipework.
Signs Of A Blocked Sink
Some indicators of a blocked drain are:
- Slow draining water
- Smelly drain area
- Toilet not flushing
- Gurgling noise coming from the drain opening
- Water backing up into the sink
- Pools of water in your yard
If any of the above is happening in your home, you may have a clog somewhere in your plumbing. It is possible to clear clogs and blockages yourself. There are a variety of products on the market that advertise drain cleaning. These liquid cleaners can be used as DIY methods of removing small blockages in toilet bowls, bathrooms, kitchen and laundry drains.
Do Chemical Drain Cleaners Damage Pipes?
Chemical drain cleaners are a product readily available in most supermarkets and home hardware stores. The main purpose of liquid chemical drain cleaners is to move or break down foreign material that is lodged in the pipework. Chemicals found in the cleaner are used to supposedly help clear the channels from the inside.
You understand how drain cleaners work but do you really know what you are pouring or flushing into your pipes? Some of these products can have harsh chemicals that slowly eat away at your pipework.
Depending on what type of pipes you have, most cleaning agents create heat as a chemical reaction and can soften PVC pipes or cause corrosion in metal pipework. You will be left with leaks and weak water channels that can affect the plumbing in your property. If you are using chemical drain cleaners regularly, you are shortening the lifespan of your plumbing considerably.
What Do Plumbers Recommend To Unclog Drains?
There are many other options and methods you can adopt to clear clogged drains in your bathroom, kitchen and laundry. And you can find what you require around your home. A plumber will always recommend these options first.
Vinegar And Baking Soda Mixture
1 cup of baking soda, 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of hot water are all you need to make an environmentally safe drain cleaner. Slowly pour the hot water down the drain. Then pour the baking soda followed by the vinegar. Let the solution sit for at least 5-10 minutes. To achieve a good clean, 30 minutes is optimum. Flush the mixture down and slowly pour with hot water once more. You may leave it for 24 hours to ensure a proper clean of hair and grease.
You can even leave the product overnight if you are using this for your toilet drain cleaner. The chemical reactions between the two ingredients will loosen the grease. This type of solution is great for the environment and works great as a safe alternative to other cleaning products as it won't do any harm to the plumbing fixtures around your property.
You can purchase a plunger from most home improvement stores and using a plunger is fairly straightforward. You should choose a plunger that is the right size and shape for your needs. The one that works best for a toilet is a flange shaped one. It has a narrow opening that can fit snugly into the bowl drain opening.
For other drain openings, it is better to use a flat-headed plunger. It will have the best seal around the opening.
Ensure you have a firm grip on the handle. Make up and down movements by pushing and pulling. It is important to create a tight seal around the opening. Try this method a few times until you have cleared any obstruction. You can use a plunger for kitchen, bathroom and laundry drain openings.
Call A Plumber
For extreme blockages, it is always best to call a professional plumber. They will help find the best way to clear clogs of all severities.
A plumber will have tools like a high-pressure jet blaster and CCTV camera on hand to fully inspect your pipework to check if there is major damage in the line. They will have the best knowledge in clearing a clogged drain and can give you tips and recommend ways to keep your plumbing working at its best.
Are Chemical Drain Cleaners A Good Idea?
So there is no reason why you should use a chemical drain cleaner. The product may be doing more damage to the drains and environment than good. For the best drain cleaner, call a licenced professional for help to remove a stubborn clog in your property.
There are other options available to you that work just as well. So, do chemical drain cleaners work? They may for a short period of time, but for a permanent solution to having clear waterways, contact a licensed plumbing team to help.