Liquid Drain Cleaners – Risks

When it comes to unclogging your drains, liquid drain cleaners are easiest. They are effective and time efficient. But while they save time now, they will cost you later. After several uses, liquid chemical drain cleaners can have damaging effects to you and your plumbing.

Dangers of Chemical Cleaners

Liquid drain cleaners can have negative effects on your drains and health. Each liquid cleaner is different in its chemical makeup and its subsequent effects.

Drains

Because liquid chemical cleaners are designed to dissolve things like hair and fingernails, they can cause damage to unwanted things as well. If they get on surrounding wood or countertops, this could result in damages. Damage to your pipes themselves can also be a side effect. The chemicals in the cleaner can eat away at the pipes and result in corrosion and weakening. The bigger the clog the greater the effects due to the length of time the chemicals are stagnant and “eating.” So while the clog may have been fixed, over time this could lead to a much bigger problem down the road.

Health

Due to the harmful effects chemical drain cleaners have on steel pipes, it is not farfetched to realize they can have harmful effects on you as well. The same chemicals that can eat away at clogs and pipes can have detrimental effects on your skin, clothes and anything it touches. The main ingredient in most chemical drain cleaners is either sodium hydroxide or sulphuric acid. Both of these are highly toxic and can lead to severe health problems if ingested by swallowing or breathing. If the chemicals get on your skin or eyes, burns and blindness can occur.

There can also be very harmful effects if chemical drain cleaners mix with other household chemicals. This can happen with something already poured down the drain or something nearby. When this happens, there is a chance of an explosive reaction that can cause any number of issues and concerns.

Better Alternatives

Instead of risking the health of your pipes and body, choose one of the alternatives to liquid chemical drain cleaners.

Enzyme Cleaners

Enzyme drain cleaners are safer liquid drain cleaners that do not contain harmful chemicals. These cleaners contain bacteria that interact with the clogs and break them down. These concentrated enzymes also kill the organic matter that can cause bad odor.  While these might be slower than chemical cleaners, they are safer to pipes and you.

Another advantage of enzyme cleaners is that they are biodegradable and environmentally-friendly. Once these bacteria are sprayed or poured, they activate and start to multiply. After the job is done, these bacteria die and are completely safe for the environment.

Physical De-Cloggers

Unclogging your drain physically yourself is much safer than chemical drain cleaners. There are no chemicals involved or harmful side effects. This can be done with a plunger, drain snake or physically removing the pipe among other methods. This eliminates the risk of pouring something down the drain.

Contact a Professional

Clogged drains can be a very tricky problem. The best solution is to enlist the help of a professional. Contact Eastern Plumbing today and we’ll get you up and running normally.

8 Essential Plumbing Tools You Shouldn’t Live Without

Plumbing tools are good to have on hand when a sink clogs or a toilet overflows on the weekends, holidays or before a dinner party. For big problems, such as a burst pipe, shut off your water and contact Eastern Plumbing. DIY plumbing requires not only the proper skills, but also the right equipment, to ensure the project is done well. You’ll be able to fix everyday annoyances if you have these essential plumbing tools at your disposal.

1. Plunger.

No home should be without this handy tool. There are several types of plungers and each of them is used for a specific fixture. The cup plunger is used to clear clogs in tubs, showers and sinks. The flange plunger is used to clear toilet clogs.

2. Pipe Wrench.

This tool is useful when it comes to something threaded, such as an iron pipe. It delivers a strong grip and leverage, which allows you to loosen or tighten fixtures, pipes, joints and plumbing parts. Buy two pipe wrenches–one for gripping and holding, one for turning.

3. Sink Snake.

Also referred to as a sink auger, this tool is a must-have when getting rid of clogs in your sink or tub drain. It breaks down solid materials into smaller pieces so you can grab them out of the pipes.

4. Toilet Auger.

This tool is also known as the water closet augur or closet auger. It works like a sink auger only that it’s specifically designed for toilets. Toilet augers allow people to break up clogs and retrieve obstructions that are causing blockages.

5. Faucet Packing and Washers.

Having faucet packing and washers on hand will save you a lot of hassle during plumbing emergencies that involve your faucets. Use these tools when your kitchen tap leaks or your tub faucet is loose.

6. Screw Drivers.

Most likely, you already have one of these tools lying around the house. Various shapes and sizes are preferred because there are so many different types of screws to remove when doing plumbing repairs.

7. Hacksaw.

This versatile saw is used to cut through metal pipe, hardware, screws, nuts and bolts and plastic pipe. Make sure the blade is tense in the frame for tough cuts, and be sure to keep extra blades on hand. Consider more than one type of saw if possible, such as one large and one small, for different repairs.

8. Caulking gun.

A caulking gun has a metal frame and a trigger that holds and applies caulk to seal seams around the edges of tubs and sinks. Caulk can be made of silicone or latex, and is used to bond a wide-range of materials.

Seasonal Plumbing Tips for Spring

Spring is here, which means it’s time for “spring cleaning” for your home’s pipe and drainage systems. Eastern Plumbing offers you these quick and simple tips to protect your home against seasonal plumbing problems.

Kitchen/Bathrooms

  • Check faucets for drips or leaks. Make repairs to save water.
  • Check toilets for hidden leaks. Add six drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 30 minutes.
  • Inspect tank and bowl for cracks or leaks.
  • Make sure toilets flush properly. If the handle must be held down for a thorough flush or jiggled to stop the water from running you may need to replace worn tank parts. They’re inexpensive and you’ll notice a lower water bill.

Appliances

  • Flush your water heater tank to clear out corrosion causing sediment, which reduces heating efficiency and shortens the life of the heater. Check your water heater manufacturer’s website for specific instructions concerning your make and model.
  • Consider replacing a water heater more than 15 years old. (The first four numbers of the serial number represent the month and year it was made.) Newer water heaters are more energy efficient.
  • Make sure flammables are not stored near the water heater or furnace.
  • Check dishwasher, washing machine and ice maker supply hoses for bulges or leaks. Replace hoses showing signs of weakness or older than ten years. Use stainless steel hoses where possible; they are more reliable and less prone bursting.

General

  • Pour a gallon of water into infrequently used drains (including floor drains) to fill the trap and prevent odors from entering the house. Slow floor drains should be snaked to ensure they will carry away water quickly in the event of a flood.
  • Check exposed pipes under sinks and in the basement for signs of leaks.
  • If your home has a sump pump, make sure it operates properly by pouring a few buckets of water into the sump pit. The pump should quickly turn on, discharge the water then shut off without any problems.
  • Inspect for slow leaks in your home by taking a reading on your water meter.
  • Install flood alarms. Like a smoke alarm, a flood alarm is a battery-operated device that sounds an alarm when it comes in contact with water. It alerts you to potential flooding or leaks.

Outside

  • Make sure yard drains, gutters and downspouts are cleaned out, open, and free of debris. If you let the debris build up, gutters and drains can clog, causing water damage, leakage and mold growth – not something you want to deal with!
  • Check for bird nests in plumbing vent pipes.
  • Check faucets and hose bibs to make sure water flows freely. If an outdoor faucet drips or if there is leakage inside your home the first time the hose is turned on, you may have had a frozen pipe that cracked and needs to be replaced.

Completing this inspection will prepare your home for the heavy rains of spring and will help you discover sooner and not later any damages caused by a long, cold winter. Contact Eastern Plumbing today to ensure you are ready!