Hairballs, oils, and miscellaneous debris can clog the bathroom drain. Dirty water fails to swirl down the drain, leaving the homeowner stuck with an overfull, unusable sink. Drano is often a go-to solution to unclog the sink; however, this product is harmful and never properly works.
A homeowner’s first instinct may be to reach for a bottle of Drano, since the chemical is cheap, readily accessible, and very easy to use. Chemical products like Drano also seem to work incredibly quickly. But be aware that Drano can cause more problems than it is intended to solve.
What is Drano?
Drano consists primarily of sodium hydroxide, also known as lye. As the main ingredient, sodium hydroxide disintegrates most organic materials, like hair and grease. Minute shards of aluminum are included in the solution, which generates heat that nears boiling temperatures.
The high level of heat accelerates the disintegration of the organic matter inside the pipes. Upon running the tap, water reacts with the lye, producing even greater heat. Material lining the drain softens, as a result. The lye and softened grease interact to create soap and bubbles.
These bubbles loosen up particles clogging the drain. Tap water then washes the grime down the drain via the space produced by the bubbles. One shot of Drano creates intense heat, soap, bubbles and the dissolution of proteins and grease. All this is more than the average drain can handle.
How do plumbing systems become damaged?
Drano is a powerful chemical that quickly dissolves hair, soap, mold, and other sink-clogging grime. As Drano eats away at scum in the drain, it also dissolves the insides of the pipe. If Drano fails to clear the clog, the chemical will sit inside the pipes and slowly wreak havoc.
Polyvinyl (PVC) pipes are most susceptible to damage from harsh chemical cleaners, like Drano. Older pipes, too, may easily sustain damage from long-term use. Keep in mind, however, that no residential plumbing system can escape the destructive, costly effects of toxic chemicals, like Drano.
Even using Drano once in the drains can be disastrous to the plumbing system. Drano’s corrosive nature can crack toilet bowls and melt or break PVC pipes. Adding to the list of destruction, Drano can eat away at the glue that holds the whole plumbing system together.
What are health consequences of using Drano?
Damage to the pipes is just one hazard homeowners should fear. Using Drano also causes health problems to the individuals in the home. Drano is caustic, meaning it burns organic matter. An individual’s eyes and skin are vulnerable to being burned via splashes of Drano.
Fumes erupting from Drano can be inhaled and cause damage to a person’s lungs. The fumes and caustic nature of Drano are why plumbers will ask if the homeowner initially used Drano; if the answer is yes, the plumber will return 24 hours later, when conditions are safer to work.
Using Drano with other chemicals or equipment is another hazard. Using a plunger can cause Drano to splash onto the homeowner’s skin. Mixing even the tiniest amount of Drano with other chemicals creates toxic fumes. The chemical reactions of Drano and other substances are unpredictable.
Is Drano environmentally unfriendly?
Drano is no friend to the environment. The chemical ingredients in Drano exit the plumbing system and contaminate the local water supply. Pipe leaks allow Drano to seep into the ground. Animals and plant life that come into contact with the corrosive chemical suffer significant harm.
What are alternatives to Drano?
Reputable plumbers will not be caught pouring Drano down their own clogged drains. Professional plumbers are wise enough to know about the many disasters Drano can cause to a plumbing system. Instead of using Drano, they manage plumbing problems in less destructive ways.
A professional plumber will first reach for a plunger to resolve a clogged pipe. Homeowners, too, are advised to plunge a clogged toilet or sink (buy separate plungers for each) in an effort to loosen the debris causing the blockage. Plunging for 30 seconds is often enough to be effective.
Homemade drain cleaners consisting of vinegar, hot water, baking soda and even Dawn soap can clear a clog without risking the integrity of the plumbing system. First loosen the clog with a bucket of boiling water. Follow with baking soda and vinegar. Finish unclogging the drain with another pot of boiling water.
Contact a Plumber
Pull out accessible clogs with a plumber’s snake, which may be easily obtained at a hardware store. Feed the snake into the pipe until it meets the point of resistance. Gently pull out the snake to remove the obstruction. Severe clogs may require snaking the drain once or twice more.
Professional Water Damage Restoration
Relentless clogs may require professional assistance. Homeowners who are confronted with a stubborn clog are advised to call in a licensed plumber. Before the professional arrives, significant amounts of water damage may exist. In such cases, consult a reputable water damage restoration expert.
ServiceMaster provides speedy and top-notch water damage restoration services to homes and businesses. We are equipped with advanced technology to draw out all excess moisture, thoroughly dry the property and restore structural materials that have sustained water damage.
Our IICRC-certified water damage restoration crews work quickly to prevent the spread of damage to other parts of the home or business. We also remove mold, which is likely to infest a property within 24 hours after the initial water damage.
ServiceMaster offers comprehensive water damage restoration services. Our crews are trained in reconstruction, so we have the tools and skills necessary to rebuild structures destroyed by water damage. When you choose us, your property will be returned to its pre-loss condition fast.
Water damage is stealthy and spreads rapidly. At ServiceMaster, we understand that timing is key. Our technicians are available 24/7 to respond to water damage emergencies in homes and businesses in the Tri-Cities, Lancaster County, Sarpy County, NE and the surrounding communities. Call us when disaster strikes.