Liquid Drain Cleaners Damage Garbage Disposals
A clogged garbage disposal can be a major inconvenience that liquid drain cleaners promise to quickly and easily resolve. For many homeowners, it can be tempting to just pour a bottle of drain cleaner down the drain and get on with the day, but they may be setting themselves up for bigger (more expensive) repairs down the road if they do.
Not only is it not guaranteed to even clear the clog, but it could cause irreparable damage to the pipes, and to the garbage disposal itself, which adds on because most people don't know what to put down a garbage disposal. Read on to learn exactly how it can happen.
Chemical Reactions Cause Pipe Damage
Liquid drain cleaners work by creating chemical reactions that significantly increase the heat, and ultimately dissolve whatever is clogging the drain or pipes. Unfortunately, these chemical reactions occur regardless of whether or not there is actually a clog present, and they work to dissolve anything the cleaner comes in contact with.
This means that as the liquid drain cleaner sits in the pipes dissolving the clog, it is also eating away at the PVC or metal pipes from the inside. While unintended, this pipe damage can cause major issues. Some homeowners may be willing to take that risk to fix a one time clog, but it’s important to remember that this pipe damage is irreversible.
Luckily, though, it is entirely avoidable by opting not to use liquid drain cleaners. There are other ways to remove a clog without causing this type of pipe damage, like with a plunger or snake. These manual methods are more labor-intensive but will maintain the integrity of the plumbing for years to come.
Garbage Disposals and Heat Don’t Mix
Many homeowners have heard that they should only run cold water when using the garbage disposal. Hot water can cause grease and fat from foods to melt and ultimately jam things up. Similarly, the significant heat increase caused by the chemical reactions in liquid drain cleaners can damage the small metal blades in the garbage disposal.
Because the heat increase is so significant, it can alter the temper of the metal, and ultimately make them less effective over time. As a general rule of thumb, garbage disposals and heat don’t mix well. To properly care for garbage disposals and get the longest life possible from them, owners should avoid exposing them to extreme heat of any kind, especially the heat generated by liquid drain cleaners.
When to Call a Plumber
If the garbage disposal isn’t draining properly, or there is any reason to suspect that there is a clog, it’s time to call a professional plumber. Licensed plumbers are able to determine what is causing the garbage disposal to be backed up, where the clog is, and how to fix it without using damaging liquid drain cleaners.
They will use professional tools to manually remove the clog, or otherwise repair the garbage disposal. Calling a plumber and paying a professional to assess the garbage disposal problem without using liquid drain cleaners now can prevent pipe damage and more costly repairs in the future.
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