We were out in Canandaigua NY yesterday doing some roof cleaning, when our customer asked if we could check on a bathroom sink while we were there. She said she normally uses drain cleaner but this time it did not unclog her sink. She told me that after the first try with her normal stuff, she went back to the store and bought some "heavy duty drain cleaner" but that didn't work either. I asked her why she didn't call us to fix the problem and she said because the drain cleaner was cheaper.
When we inspected the problem we noticed that the P trap under the sink was leaking. After water jetting her drain to solve her problem, we gave the P trap a closer inspection and this is what we found.
Her P trap was eaten up by the drain cleaner. The truth about drain cleaners is that they are very harsh on your pipes, after all they are comprised of caustic lye or acid.
In addition to the corrosive properties once the chemical reaction is done, it leaves a hard residue building up in your pipes. This residue further clogs your pipes. Here is an example of the metal bits and other buildup that came out of the pipe in the wall.
Besides the cost of the drain cleaner, she made two trips into town and spent all day trying to unclog the sink. Had we not been there cleaning her roof, she would have had to spend more time and money to call a plumber/us and schedule a service call.
She also had to replace parts and who knows what else the stuff has eaten up further down the line.
Now you may be thinking, "I have plastic pipes and drain cleaner is sold in plastic jugs, so its safe on them", right?
That's what our friend Doug in Seneca Falls thought. He had a leak in his basement ceiling, coming from his sink line. The cause was a joint in the PVC pipe that had come loose.
How did this happen?
Drain cleaners react with food, hair and other debris it creates heat, heat makes thing expand. So where does stuff get caught in pipes? Foreign objects tend to gather at the low points of the joints where the chemicals react with it.
Further more just because the PVC may be resistant to chemicals the GLUE that hold the joints together is not.
Of course there is the issue of safety. It is dangerous for you to handle caustic chemicals and it is dangerous for us when we have to work on your plumbing system.
If all that were not enough can you imagine what this stuff does to your drinking water. The Ctiy has to spend a lot more time and money to filter it out (not to mention repairs) and your poor septic tank just lets it pass right on through.
So the answer to the question is; A human drain cleaner is the best and most cost effective drain cleaner. :)
They may be a little more money upfront, but in the long run, a good drain cleaning, will save you a lot of time and money.
G.L. The guy that touches all the icky stuff so you don't have to. :)
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