Chemical Drain Cleaner
History Drain Cleaner
Danger and Usage Considerations for Drain Cleaner
Handheld Drain Auger
Air burst Drain Cleaner
Home Remedy Drain Cleaners
Hydro-Mechanical Drain Cleaners
Electric Drain Cleaner
Drain Cleaner Water Jetters
Danger and usage considerations
Chemical drain cleaners tend to be readily available and easily accessible as they are often available at everyday retailers. Another advantage of them is that they are also fairly easy to use when removing everyday blockages, like hair and oils, that are near to the opening of the drain.
On the other hand, chemical drain cleaners can be less effective when a blockage if further down the pipe and not near the opening of the drain (for example, in a toilet.) They are also unable to dislodge the majority of solid blockages and do come with the safety precautions listed below.
A reaction can occur on the surface of many pipes between sulphuric acid and aluminium oxide.
Chemical drain cleaner is a dangerous substance as it can damage household items made from wood, aluminium or fibreglass and can cause significant damage to skin, lungs and eyes. Due to this chemical drain, cleaners should only be used following the guidance provided upon purchase from the manufacturer and using it any other way may result in serious injury. Corrosive and acidic drain cleaners are considered some of the most dangerous products that are on sale to the general population. Chemical drain cleaners can potentially also cause explosions and severe reactions when they come into contact with other chemicals that might have been applied previously. This can cause serious injury to anyone nearby when this happens. For example, a young boy was left scarred for life when an acidic drain cleaner dripped through the ceiling of his bedroom while he was sleeping.
Powerful alkali drain cleaners are just as likely to cause damaging and rapid burns as their acidic counterpart. There have been several cases of these substances causing damaging reactions. For example, a woman was attacked with concentrated lye and a young girl was scarred for life from an everyday lye drain cleaner. Another disadvantage of these products is that, as they are poured into the drain, they contribute to waste and pollution in the water supply. Heat being produced by the reactions caused by the drain cleaners can also lead to pipes bursting or can damage and soften PVC pipes (which are made from plastic.) Commercial drain cleaners, that are chemical based, may corrode pipes or cause damage or erosion to waste water lines.
On occasion, customers may unintentionally mix two varieties of drain cleaner, which can have disastrous consequences. For instance, the mixing of a basic and an acidic drain cleaner can be seen below.
Sulphuric acid + sodium hydroxide sodium sulphate (a salt) + water
H2SO4 + 2 NaOH → Na2SO4 + 2H2O
This reaction may seem as though it would neutralise the acid and base and so be safe, but this reaction can actually lead to pipes violently combusting as the reaction is exothermic. Below is another example of two variants being mixed, this time with bleach and an acidic drain cleaner.
Hydrochloric acid + bleach → water + table salt + chlorine gas
2HCl + NaClO → H2O + NaCl + Cl2
This reaction creates chlorine gas which is deadly and toxic to human lungs.