Blocked drains are one of the most annoying things you can come across in your house. But in most cases, there are always warning signs prior to the blockage. It can be as simple as water taking too long to fully drain from the kitchen sink or unusual leaks on any of the joints along with the piping. The good news is that there are many methods that can help you reverse this with immediate effect. Two of the most common ones are the chemical drain unblocker and plunger. In this article, we will talk about the types of chemical drain unblockers and plungers available on the market. Take note that these drain unblockers will be able to deal with basic plumbing problems, but not necessarily larger, more major problems. If you suspect that your plumbing problem is connected to the drainage infrastructure in Australia, contact your local authorities as soon as possible before the problem worsens.
As the name suggests these chemical compounds rely on chemical reactions to deliver their remedy. They come in different states, the most commonly used are liquids, and others are in powder form while the rest are gels. But in general, there are three main types of chemicals used to clear blocked drains.
Acidic drain clearers
These are the most effective chemical drain unblocker and deliver positive results almost immediately after they have been introduced to the drain blockage. Acid drain clearers are able to achieve their function through the highly reactive chemical structure of hydrochloric acid or sulfuric acid which is among the commonly used chemical substances. This is made possible through a chain of exothermic chemical reactions that take place when the chemicals come into contact with the clogging agent. This in most cases can be organic compounds such as hair in the case of shower drains.
During the chemical reaction, there is an exchange of ions whereby electrons will be removed from the clog in question. At the same time, hydronium ions will be produced which then come into contact with the clog resulting in the exothermic reaction mentioned above. The heat produced during this process is enough to break down the materials that are causing the clog, and will usually unclog the drain in an instant.
Alkaline drain clearers
This type of chemical drain cleaner is also very good at what it does. Made from strong alkaline chemical compounds such as lye which is commonly known as sodium hydroxide and potassium hydroxide. Unlike the acidic drain clearers which take electrons from the clog alkaline drain clearers apply a reverse technique which involves giving electrons to the clog. The hydroxide ions produced during the chemical reaction is what clears and breaks down the clog. The process is followed by the production of intense heat which then takes effect on the clog that has already been weakened. As a result, the heat energy clean up the clog turning it into a soapy compound that can easily be washed away using water. It is advisable to flush the drain with large volumes of water in order to flush out all the elements that are the byproduct of the chemical treatment.
Oxidizing drain clearers
Like the other two drain clearers, this class of chemical drain clearer relies on a series of chemical reactions to deliver its effect. The only unique thing about this class of chemical drain clearers is that they are made from compounds that can be easily accessed in the house. This includes peroxides, bleach and at times nitrates. Since most of the compounds are oxidizing agents the resulting chemical reaction will remove the electrons from the clog which then leads to its oxidation. In addition, the heat produced will melt down the clog and the gas will help in clearing everything from the drain.
In as much as chemical drain clearers may be effective in cleaning drains, caution should be taken when using them. Some are very toxic and may harm you in case of direct contact with the skin or eyes. They can also be corrosive to old metallic pipes if constantly applied, but all in all, if you follow all the instructions you will have a clear drain in no time.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF PLUNGERS AND HOW TO USE THEM
Unclogging is anything but enjoyable of a task. But then somebody has to do it. Plungers are one of the most common physical drain unblocker available in the market. It is used by all kinds of establishments, from households to all sorts of businesses like this flying fox park. There are three and here’s how to use them:
Flange plunger or toilet plunger
A clogged toilet is one of the most common pain you have to deal with without delay, regardless of whether you are a business owner or not. Thank goodness for the flange plunger’s long straight handles that enable anybody to reach into whatever gets a toilet clogged. Connected to its end is a suction cup that contains a narrow rubber opening, which is the actual flange itself, that fit in a toilet bowl’s small curve sealing it tightly. This assists the plunger to serve its purpose. Flange plungers, also known as the toilet plungers, are the most versatile kind, most favoured in the household, because of its unique convertible rubber flange. Its opening may be tucked up from inside the main suction, readily converting the tool into a cup plunger if need be. Even plumbers use them to clear blockages in toilets from all sorts of places. Toilets in places like the adventure park in Victoria would need maintenance from time to time, so do not be surprised to find that its application is useful in the most random places in the world.
However, do take note that even if it has multiple uses, such as toilets, sinks, and tubs, it is not advisable to use one flange plunger to use for everything because it is unhygienic.
Cup plunger or sink plunger
As its name denotes, this kind of plungers is the most common that you see. It has two parts. One, it is made up of a straight handle, which is usually made of wood, and two, a commonly red rubber cap.
This is the go-to tool when water won’t drain properly. To ensure effective unclogging using this tool, begin by laying your cup flat over the drain. As this becomes your starting point, create a vacuum by pushing it towards the drain. This becomes your positive pressure. Then dislodge the clog by pulling the plunger, creating a negative pressure. Keep repeating until the clogged drain gets cleared. A toilet bowl’s curve makes it impossible to apply the negative pressure completely because a cup plunger cannot seal it tightly.
Use this plunger for showers, kitchen sinks, tubs, bathroom sinks or anything with a flat surface. Again, it’s best to use one for each to avoid cross-contamination.
Bellows plunger or accordion plunger
Using this kind of plunger may require skills. Since a bellow plunger comes in mechanical design, being composed of several pleats, it gives more power to the suction cup. If your plumbing issue is more challenging than water taking so much time to flow, or a flush that returns water instead of getting drained down, this may be the right tool for you. It’s more advanced and effective. However, because of the strength of its plastic construction, it makes it harder to obtain strong suction and it makes the plunger difficult to handle and control. While the usual vertical, up-and-down position plumbing problem is solved by a flange plunger or a cup plunger, a drain that has to be approached from an angle is best unclogged by an accordion plunger.
Now that you know which drain unblocker goes with what clogging issue, you might be able to do basic plumbing yourself. Just remember to be extra careful in handling toxic substances and to observe hygienic practices in the process.