Over time, Drano has become the go-to for drain cleaning products. While there are several other brands on the market, like liquid plumber, most use the same active ingredients. Generally, when someone has a clog or slow moving drain, the first thing they do is drive straight to the hardware store in search of a quick fix. But is Drano really the best product for your home’s plumbing system?
What is Drano?
Drano is a lye-based drain cleaning product that uses a combination of active ingredients to cause a chemical reaction within your pipes that dissolves and loosens blockages. The common chemical variations include (but are not limited to) sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium hypochlorite (bleach), sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (salt), and aluminum.
How Does it Work?
Drano relies on several different chemical reactions occurring within your pipes at the same time to dissolve and loosen clogs. The main ingredient, sodium hydroxide (lye), works to decompose most organic matter including hair and grease. The lye is mixed with the small bits of aluminum to create a potent chemical reaction that generates heat at near-boiling temperatures. This increase in temperature helps speed up the decomposition. When water is added to the mixture, a new reaction occurs, producing even more heat. The resulting reaction creates hydrogen bubbles and soap, which work to dissolve proteins and breakdown fat. It also softens other build ups inside the pipes that flush away as water flows through the system.
Is it Safe?
Drano continues to sit inside of your pipes generating heat and chemical reactions until the clog is dissolved. Pipes in your home were not designed or meant for the heat and chemical reactions that occur. Old or corroded pipes can easily be damaged. Toilets can crack from the heat. Drano can even soften PVC pipes and dissolve the glue that holds them together. It can also damage equipment and tools such as plungers and augers.
Drano is a very caustic substance, meaning it can burn or corrode organic tissue. Exposed skin and eyes can very easily be subjected to chemical burns if proper precautions are not taken. If there is drano residue left in pipes and another cleaning agent is introduced, it could cause another chemical reaction, potentially creating toxic fumes that could be detrimental to the health of your and your family.
The Verdict: Say No To Drano
While drano may seem like a cheap, quick fix, the long term fallout from usage could cost you more in the long run. Drano can cause unnecessary corrosion and weaken your plumbing system, making your home more susceptible to leaks and failure. Aside from damaging your plumbing system, drano is a caustic substance and was designed to break down organic matter. It can be dangerous if not handled properly. The chemicals in these products are also disastrous for the environment.
Before using any product such as drano, please call the leak detection experts at The Plumber at (716) 894-4382. Our technicians are happy to assist you with all your drain cleaning needs without the dangerous side effects.