Sewer Maintenance: Is Drano Safe to Use?

Is Drano safe to use

Assessing Drano's Impact on Sewer Maintenance

The maintenance of a sewer system is crucial not only to the hygiene of our homes but also to our health and comfort.  Among the regular activities undertaken in keeping your sewer in working order is the unclogging of toilets and other drains, for which an assortment of solutions are advertised and made available.  Of these clogged-drain solutions, Drano is arguably the most recognized.  But the burning question is, 'is Drano safe to use?'  It's a potent chemical mix with a number of warnings on the bottle.  That's why, in general, the use of Drano is not typically encouraged due to several potential negative impacts.

The Science Behind Draino

It's important to understand that the fundamental principle behind Drano’s effectiveness lies in its concentrated chemical composition.  It includes potent substances like sodium hydroxide (lye), sodium hypochlorite (bleach), sodium nitrate, sodium chloride (salt), and aluminum.  These chemicals generate heat to break down whatever is blocking the drain.  While this sounds beneficial, these chemicals can cause corrosive effects on your plumbing system and pose significant harm to the environment.

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Drano Only Provides Temporary Relief

Drain cleaners like Drano can be extremely harsh on pipes, especially if they're older or made of PVC or other plastic materials.  The heat generated by these types of drain cleaners can soften and weaken PVC and older metal pipes, leading to cracks and leaks over time.  For older homes or homes with already compromised plumbing systems, the use of Drano can invariably hasten the deterioration of the pipes.  As a result, the exorbitant costs of potential pipe replacements should be considered to profoundly outweigh the temporary relief a bottle of Drano might provide.

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How Effective is Drano?

Drano may not even be thoroughly effective in many cases.  While it is undeniably great at clearing out organic matter based clogs such as grease and hair, it usually under performs when dealing with large, solid obstructions or intractable clogs.  Consequently, homeowners often end up pouring more of the solution to combat the blockage, escalating the potential damage to pipes and nearby fixtures.  Moreover, alongside funnels and sanitation systems, the environment and human health are directly affected by Drano.  Its active ingredients are recognized as environmental pollutants and can contribute to water contamination when washed away through the sewage system.  Additionally, Drano can be hazardous due to its caustic nature.  It can cause serious burns if it comes into contact with skin and can even cause blindness if accidentally splashed into eyes.  Drano is not septic safe, either.  In a septic system, good bacteria help break down waste.  Drano’s harsh chemicals can eliminate these beneficial bacteria, impeding the system's effectiveness.  The stability of your septic system would be undermined with the use of these chemicals, eventually leading to potential malfunctions.

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What Are Your Options?

Wherever you may reside, alternatives to products like Drano do exist.  For instance, the use of a high-quality plumbing snake or the simple combination of vinegar and baking soda can help clear sink clogs or other frustrating stoppages without employing harmful chemicals.  In addition, regularly scheduled professional cleanings can help maintain the health of your plumbing system, preventing serious blockages before they occur.

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Still Dealing with a Pesky Sewer Stoppage?

If you're unsure how best to clear a drain clog and have decided not to risk a product like Drano, give us a call.  Our team of licensed plumbers have the correct tools and experience to resolve any clogged drain or other sewer issue.

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Jamie Hicks
Jamie Hicks
May 12, 2024.
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May 6, 2024.
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