Types of Chemical Drain Cleaners and How They Work

plumber pouring chemical drain cleanerIn liquid, gel or powder form, drain cleaners have one job: to remove clogs. The type of chemical that makes up the drain cleaner influences how they get rid of the clogs a little, but they all work the same way. They create chemical reactions that involve the movement of electrons and generate heat.

If you’re looking for a plumber in Park City, look for one who offers a difference in the services. That is, if they opt for a drain cleaner without finding out the location of the clog and material of the piping, they are probably just starting out. A skilled professional will use a chemical that will do the job without harming the piping. They will bring any or all of the following drain cleaners:

Caustic drain cleaners

These often have chemicals, such as caustic potash and lye. The bases lose electrons to the clogging material, creating a reaction with the hydroxide ions that remove the clog. The reaction releases heat, which melts grease to make it easy to dissolve. Typically, caustic drain cleaners are denser than water, so they can work even through standing water.

Oxidizing drain cleaners

These drain cleaners contain chemicals, such as nitrates and peroxides. To remove clogs, oxidizing drain cleaners lose electrons and become oxidized. The oxidation reaction also emits heat and gases, which help remove blockages.

Acid drain cleaners

These cleaners are difficult to find in stores, and when they are, they are only sold to plumbers. They typically contain high levels of hydrochloric or sulfuric acid. Acid drain cleaners attract electrons from the clog, forming more hydronium ions and destroying a blockage. Choose a plumber who uses the right type of drain cleaner for a given situation.

While all of the reactions caused by the drain cleaners produce heat, the amount varies. As such, PVC pipes, for example, can incur damage from acid drain cleaners. Metal pipes will also be prone to damage, especially if they are old. Therefore, chemical drain cleaners should be used by a professional.