Do Chemical Drain Cleaners Work?

Indoor plumbing pipes

Obviously, when the drains in your Charlottesville, VA, home are slow, foul-smelling, or completely blocked, there’s a problem. Your natural instinct may be to drive to the big-box or home improvement store and purchase a bottle of chemical drain cleaner. In some cases, these DIY products can clear a mild drain clog. Here’s how they work and when you should call in a professional plumber for thorough drain cleaning services.

Caustic Drain Cleaners

There are three types of chemical drain cleaners you might consider when you need to clear a clog from an obstructed drain. The first type is a caustic drain cleaner. It has a strong base with a pH of 10.0 or higher. Its hydroxide ions have a chemical reaction with the ions in the material that makes up the clog. The chemical reaction breaks up the obstruction, usually within 15 minutes. These drain cleaners are well-suited to greasy clogs.

Oxidative Drain Cleaners

Oxidative drain cleaners use bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or nitrates. The oxygen ions remove electrons from the material in a clog. The chemical reaction creates some heat, which liquefies waxy, oily, or greasy messes. An oxidizing chemical drain cleaner works best on clogs caused by food.

Acidic Drain Cleaners

Acidic drain cleaners use muriatic or sulfuric acid to break up the clogs. The positively charged hydrogen ions in the cleaner pull electrons off the negatively charged ions in the clog. The pH of these cleaners is 1.0 to 2.0. These chemical drain cleaners should only be used by licensed plumbers who have the right personal safety equipment to protect themselves from burns caused by splashing of the substance.

At Beck Cohen, we’re the trusted drain maintenance company in Charlottesville. Homeowners also count on us for plumbing maintenance, repair, and installation services. These, in addition to our electrical, indoor air quality, and heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair, and replacement services keep your home safe, comfortable, and functional all year long. For more details on how chemical drain cleaners work, get in touch with us at Beck Cohen today.