preparing for plumbing emergencies
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preparing for plumbing emergencies

Do you have a plumbing repair kit in your home to make emergency repairs quickly? Having everything you need in one bucket or box can help you eliminate some of the stress that comes with plumbing emergencies. On this blog, you will find out what you should have in your kit and some basic tips about making these repairs to avoid further damage to your home. It is my hope that you will find more than enough information to keep your home dry, your drains draining, and a peace of mind and lack of stress to tackle these dreaded household occurrences.

preparing for plumbing emergencies

Safety Tips For Using Chemical Drain Cleaners

Veronica Torres

When your drain is running slow, your first response is probably to head to the store for some drain cleaner. While this is a reasonable choice, the chemicals contained within the innocent looking bottle are actually quite dangerous. There are several steps you should take any time you work with one of these products to ensure you aren't going to end up paying for a plumber and an emergency room visit.

Don't Stay in the Room

Keeping pets and children away from the area while you are cleaning out the drain is an easy thing to understand. These family members may not completely understand why they can't play in the foam that bubbles up from many cleaners. However, you may not think to leave the area yourself. The fumes from these chemical cleaners are very strong and can cause respiratory issues if you continue to breathe them in for the length of time that they are working in the pipes.

This is especially true if you are working in an enclosed space like a bathroom. If you must stay in the room, open the door and turn on the fan to get as much ventilation as possible. Wearing a mask will also help to reduce the amount of airborne chemicals you breathe in. If you have a serious respiratory condition, you may want to skip the chemical cleaners altogether or have the process done by a friend or family member.

Protect Your Skin and Eyes

Your lungs are probably pretty important to you, but they are not the part most at risk when using drain cleaner. Your skin and eyes are far more likely to come into contact with the chemicals. A few drops can easily splash up while you are pouring in the chemicals, or there could be some left in the drain if you have to try further methods to get the clog worked out.

Glasses and gloves are not too difficult to find and wear while your are doing this chore, especially since they will protect you from chemical burns. The concentration of chemicals found in over-the-counter drain cleaners is fortunately on the low side, so if you do get some on your skin, you don't have to head straight to the hospital. Flush the area thoroughly with water, and keep an eye on it to make sure a trip to urgent care isn't in your future. However, your best choice is still to cover your skin and make sure that isn't a possibility.

Avoid Them if the Drain Isn't Working At All

If your drain isn't draining at all, just skip the chemical cleaners altogether. The clog has developed too far for them to do any good, and you won't be able to flush the product from your pipes. There are a couple of issues with leaving drain cleaner in your pipes:

  1. While an application of drain cleaner here and there won't hurt your pipes much, allowing the chemical to sit and eat away at them will.
  2. If you have a break in the line (which can manifest itself as a clog) you are pouring the chemicals into who-knows-where. They are okay to run through metal pipes but are a major problem if they get into your walls, floors, or groundwater.
  3. It will be far more difficult to avoid contact with the chemicals when you, or a plumber, try to break the clog using another method.

As you can see, chemical drain cleaners are serious business. If you do decide to use them, these safety concerns should be your first priority. If you are unsure whether they are a good idea, then try a natural cleaner, or just call a plumber and ensure that the root cause of your problem is properly addressed. Click here for more info on professional drain cleaners in your area.