chemical drain cleaners

If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably experienced a clogged drain at some point. Whether a bathtub, toilet, bathroom sink or kitchen sink, a clogged drain is an inconvenience that requires a quick fix. Your first reaction is probably reaching for the drain cleaner under the sink or taking a quick trip to the store to purchase some.

But before you do that, consider the following facts about chemical drain cleaners and your pipes. 

How Drain Cleaner Chemicals Work

Chemical drain cleaners come in a variety of formats but all of them work the same way. What exactly happens when you pour them down the drain? In a nutshell, the chemicals interact with your clog, causing a chemical reaction that generates heat and sends your clog into oblivion. That’s a great thing when getting rid of that stubborn clog in your bath sink but it’s not-so-great for a number of other reasons.

How Chemical Drain Cleaners Can Be Dangerous

Corrosion

Chemical drain cleaners are just that – chemicals – and they’re manufactured to be strong enough to cut through any clog. So while eliminating clogs is a good thing, it’s not a good thing for your pipes, especially if they’re made of PVC or older metal. Why? While these caustic chemicals are eliminating your clog, at the same time, they’re also eating through your pipes, causing damage that eventually requires sewer line repair or replacement. 

Health Hazards

Since these types of cleaners consist of chemicals, they often create fumes that can cause breathing problems in humans. Additionally, the chemicals found in these products can cause burns to skin, face and eyes, not only to the consumer but to any technician who may be called to work on the clog.

Effectiveness

Chemical drain cleaners are not always effective in totally clearing clogged pipes. Many times, clogs are found further down the drain so the chemicals may not fully reach and penetrate the clog. And even when they do reach the clog, they generally only clear away the part of the clog found on the bottom of the pipe – the part of the pipe the chemicals actually touch. 

Environmental Impacts

Chemical cleaners usually contain acids like hydrochloric and sulfuric acids, oxidizers like sodium hypochlorite and caustics like lye, caustic soda or sodium hydroxide. When poured down the drain, it’s only a matter of time before these chemicals can end up in groundwater and water supplies.

How to Clean a Clogged Drain Without Chemicals

So what do you do if you’re dealing with a stubborn clog? Before you reach for those chemicals, consider a simple DIY remedy first. A simple mixture of vinegar and baking soda put down your drain and allowed to sit overnight could be enough to eliminate your clog. However, since many clogs are often found further down the line, most times professional help is necessary.  

If you’re experiencing a stubborn clog that will not go away, don’t reach for those chemical. Instead, give the drain cleaning experts at Reid & Pederson a call and our knowledgeable technicians will clear your clog quickly!

South Suburbs
NW Indiana
flushable wipes causing sewer clog

The market for disposable wipes in the U.S. is an over $2 billion market, and is poised to reach beyond $3 billion by 2023. With the current global pandemic of coronavirus making its way to the U.S., Americans have been buying toilet paper faster than it can be produced. Because of the shortage of toilet paper, many Americans have turned to flushable wipes to take care of their bathroom needs. And that’s fine, however, there are some important things about these flushable wipes you should remember.

Disposable wet wipes run the gamut – baby wipes, hygienic wipes, cleaning wipes, the list goes on. There is quite a debate on whether or not wipes labeled as “flushable” are truly flushable. Here at Reid & Pederson, we believe that the only things that should be flushed down your toilet are the 3 P’s (we hope we don’t have to spell them out for you!). Let’s break things down and find out exactly what most wet wipes are really made of.

What Are Wipes Made Of?

Baby wipes, hygienic wipes for personal use and cleaning wipes usually consist of non-woven fabric such as cotton or rayon. Using a method where a single sheet of material is cut from a mass of separate fibers, these wipes also contain polyester, polypropylene and/or wood pulp. These microscopic pieces of plastic and wood and their insolubility make it very difficult for wipes of these types to break down in your sewer or septic system…no matter what you’re told. That’s why you should never, ever flush them and instead, throw them in the trash. 

Although there are a number of products on the market today that are marketed as being flushable, it’s good knowing what they are made of before flushing them. Most flushable wipes claim to be made of biodegradable tree or plant-based fibers that break down faster. While this may be true, it’s important to understand two things regarding “flushable” wipes. 

What Does “Flushable” Even Mean?

First, manufacturers of these wipes are not required to prove flushability of their products. There are no restrictions or regulations put in place today on how these wipes can be marketed and labeled. There’s essentially nothing stopping them from labeling their products however they wish.

Secondly, the tests performed by manufacturers to show the solubility of their products aren’t usually performed under the same conditions as a gently flowing sewer. Manufacturers often perform these tests while putting the wipes under immense pressure and with vigorous shaking and agitation, creating a scenario that shows the wipe breaking down quickly but not under true sewer and septic conditions. These tests are not true “apples-to-apples” comparisons. 

In fact, only about 8% of all disposable wipes that are marketed as “flushable” by manufacturers, are actually flushable. A 2013 test conducted by Consumer Reports tested four of the most popular flushable wipe brands versus toilet paper. After ten minutes, the toilet paper was completely dissolved but the wipes remained intact. Ten more minutes and being agitated in a mixer, the wipes still weren’t breaking down. After twelve hours, only two brands of the wipes started to show signs of breaking down. Imagine what all of these wipes are doing to your sewer line! Eventually they create a large blockage and cause a backup and lots of headaches for you.

Fatbergs & Clogged Sewers

Accumulation of baby wipes in a sewer line, coupled with grease, feminine hygiene products, paper towels and other debris can lead to fatbergs, huge masses of solid waste made up of these items. And while the name may sound funny, they’re anything but. Not only are fatbergs unhygienic, but they’re expensive to fix and extremely gross. If you’re so inclined, learn about the giant fatberg found in London in 2017, weighing as much as ELEVEN double-decker London buses!

We’re Here to Help with Your Sewer & Drain Problems!

The bottom line? We see a LOT of wipes when rodding sewers! Although annual preventive sewer maintenance is always your best bet, flushing wipes down your toilet will certainly mean we will be seeing you more than once a year! And remember – for any clogs or backups you’re experiencing, Reid & Pederson is here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – no matter the cause. Give us a call today!

South Suburbs
NW Indiana

When you think of summer, your drainage and sewer system is probably the last thing that comes to mind. But did you know that there are specific issues that can pop up regarding these systems during the summer months?  Below are some common drainage issues many homeowners experience during the summer months and what you can do to help prevent them.

Sump Pump Problems

Ah, those warm summer rains and the thunderstorms that come along with them. They’re refreshing and calming at times, but can also be quite hazardous, in more ways than one. Heavy summer rains can wreak havoc on your home drainage system.

Many homes contain sump pumps in the basement to pump away groundwater. Too much rain can overwhelm your pump if you don’t have an adequate system in place. For some homeowners, having multiple sump pumps and even a battery backup system are essential to keeping water from seeping into their basement. If you experience water seepage or know your home has a drainage problem, it is vital that you address the sump pump issue to prevent a catastrophe later on.

Sewer Line Backups

While the warm summer weather is great for spending time outdoors, it also means the constant threat of those warm Midwest summer thunderstorms. And with those storms comes rain – sometimes lots of it! Lots of rain can overwhelm home sewer systems and cause backups.  Tree roots also cause problems during the summer months as they can find their way into your pipes through the smallest cracks, seeking out the water in your pipes.  The result is a blockage that only professional drain and sewer cleaning can effectively remove.

Clogged Drains

Having the kids off of school for the summer equals more occupants and more overall use of plumbing fixtures in your home. Although the COVID-19 pandemic right now may be limiting visitors, summer is usually a time to spend increased time with friends and family. 

Things like summer barbecues, more showers and more toilet use can all lead to clogged drains that could ultimately require drain cleaning services. Trips to the beach, camping and other summer activities can also  be brought back home in the form of extra dirt and debris.

So when you’re hosing off from a day at the beach, try your best to keep all of that sand out of your drains. Lastly, make sure any visitors are clear on what shouldn’t be flushed down your toilets – namely, feminine hygiene products, paper towels or wipes. 

Clogged Disposals

Summertime is the perfect time to break out the grill and host the perfect summer barbecue with friends and family.  While it’s a great time to relax with great company, it also leads to a higher likelihood of garbage disposal problems. Why is this, you ask?  With so much extra food being prepared, there is an increased risk of too much of the wrong items being put down your disposal.

So what foods should you keep in mind to never put down your disposal this summer? Below is a list of the worst offenders:

  • Keep the steak and chicken bones out of the disposal. Bones tend to continually spin around your disposal blades and even if they do make it down the disposal, they definitely won’t make it through your drain pipes. Make Fido happy instead and throw him that steak bone, surely he will appreciate it!
  • Certain fruits and vegetables. Those potatoes you’re pealing for your potato salad or the celery you’re adding to it? What about all of those eaten ears of corn or watermelon rinds? Don’t put any of these down your disposal! Celery strings tend to tangle around your blades, potatoes can cause a soupy mess in your disposal and hard pits or rinds just won’t ever grind up. None of these bodes well for your disposal.
  • Too much remaining pasta salad? Keep it out of your disposal. Pasta tends to swell up when exposed to water, even after it is fully cooked. Dumping it down the disposal increases the likelihood of it swelling and clogging the trap or causing a clog further down the line.
  • Grease and oil. Never dump grease or oil down your disposal. Just because it’s a liquid form when you dump it doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Grease and oil tend to harden up in your pipes, causing clogs that can lead to major issues.

Clogged Toilets

Having the kids off of school for the summer usually means more visitors in the form of friends and family. These increased visitors could see your toilets getting a bit more use during those hazy summer days.  While this generally isn’t a cause for concern, it can turn into one if those extra visitors aren’t aware of just what can – and cannot – be flushed down the toilet. Many times, toilet clogs can be taken care of simply with a plunger, however, continual flushing of anything other than toilet paper – baby wipes, paper towels, napkins or feminine hygiene products, to name a few – will certainly lead to backups that only a professional can clear.

Blocked Gutters & Downspouts

Plentiful summer rain can also cause your gutters and downspouts to clog. No matter the time of year, it’s always a good idea to periodically check your gutters and downspouts and remove things like leaves, sticks, dead animals or other debris from them. These things commonly cause clogs in your gutters or downspouts and don’t allow rain to properly drain away from your home.

Instead, clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to water pooling in your yard, with no place to go but into your basement or crawl space. It’s a good idea to check your gutters and downspouts before the start of every new season to prevent clogs in them. 

The Drain & Sewer Experts

If you’re dealing with an issue mentioned above or any other drain or sewer problem, call the drain and sewer experts at Reid & Pederson Drainage. We’ll get to you quickly and get things flowing again at your property!

South Suburbs
NW Indiana

If you’re making updates to your home or landscape or planning a repair on your property, it is very important to have the underground utilities on your property located and flagged before doing so.

In Illinois, calling 811 or “JULIE”, or in Indiana, calling Indiana811, before you dig is the proper way to begin any project that involves digging on your property. Failure to do so could result in a dangerous and hazardous situation called a cross bore.

What is a Cross Bore?

A cross bore is defined as “the intersection of an existing underground utility by a second utility installed using trenchless technology.” What does this mean in relation to your sewer line? Let’s say our technician is rodding your sewer line. If there is a cross bore, and our equipment hits it, then natural gas can enter your sewer line. The result is an extremely dangerous situation that poses an immediate threat to occupants and those nearby. 

What Should You Do If You Discover a Cross Bore?

The first thing to do is evacuate the property. Ensure the homeowners, any workers and even neighbors move away from where the cross bore is located. Avoid anything that can cause a spark as that can trigger an explosion due to the gas.  When in a safe place, call your gas company and let them know a cross bore was found. They are the professionals and can perform the necessary actions to remedy it and make it safe for you and others to return to your homes. 

Although a rare occurrence, cross bores do happen. In fact, we have experienced some ourselves. The most important thing to remember is to take swift action if a cross bore is discovered on your property. If you have questions about cross bores or anything related to your drains or sewers, give us a call at Reid & Pederson today!

South Suburbs
NW Indiana

Ah, Spring. Warmer weather, budding plants and a sense of renewal. Many people choose Spring as a time to purge closets, tidy up and thoroughly clean and organize their homes. In the frenzy of spring cleaning, it can be easy to overlook the out of sight or hidden areas of your home, but it’s important to remember that those areas need some TLC, too.

Springtime Drain & Sewer Cleaning

One area you may not think about is your sewer system, but it’s essential to make sure your drains and sewer are clean. Both your sewer and your drains consist of pipes, which bring fresh water into your home and carry the waste water out of it. Over time, your pipes will age, leading to cracks and leaks. And if your landscape has a lot of trees and shrubbery, the risk of roots finding a way into your sewer line is pretty high.

Annual Sewer Maintenance

Keeping up on annual sewer maintenance is one of the easiest ways you can ensure things are always flowing freely in your home. Participation in an annual preventive sewer maintenance program gives you peace of mind knowing this will always be the case.

Sewer & Drain Cleaning Tips

Below are some easy steps you can take to prevent backups and clogged drains in your home this Spring, when all of that rain begins to fall!

  • Keep your gutters, downspouts and roof vent pipes clear of leaves and other debris that have accumulated over the (long!) winter months.
  • If you’re inclined to do so, inspect all of your water pipes in your home to find leaks or damage to them. You can always call a professional to do this for you, too.
  • Install backwater valves on all floor drains to prevent unexpected sewer backups.
  • Have a professional rod out any clogged drain lines in your home to clear them before the heavy rain comes and makes your clogs bigger.
  • Occasionally pour a bucket or two of water down infrequently used drains to fill the trap and prevent odors and sewer gas from entering your home.
  • Use mesh strainers over all main drains like your kitchen sink, laundry tub and bathtub to prevent hair, lint, food and other debris from going down them and clogging them.
  • Test your sump pump by unplugging the unit, waiting 30 seconds, then plugging the unit back in. If it kicks on and begins pumping water, you’re good to go!
  • Clean your washing machine lint trap to prevent backups while doing laundry.
  • Inspect your garbage disposal and give it a good cleaning to keep it in tip top shape. Need an easy recipe to clean and deodorize?
    • Pour one half cup of baking soda into your disposal, then pour one cup of vinegar over it.
    • Let the mixture sit in your disposal for ten minutes then rinse away with hot water for a minute or two.

If you have a sewer or drain cleaning job that requires a professional, or you just have a question about some of our tips above, reach out to the drain cleaning and sewer cleaning pros at Reid & Pederson Drainage today!

South Suburbs
NW Indiana

There will likely come a time when you experience slow drains in your home. While your best bet is to call a professional to remedy your problem, you may first try to remedy the problem yourself.

Many times, this means grabbing a bottle of Drano, pouring it into the drain and hoping it cheaply and quickly dissolves your clog. While chemical drain cleaners temporarily relieve your clogged drain, their use can create problems that can make your clogged drain worse.

Why You Shouldn’t Use Drain Cleaner Chemicals:

1) They’re chemicals!

The first issue with chemical cleaners is just that – they’re chemicals. Caustic, toxic, and disruptive, they’re formulated to eat away the most stubborn drain clogs. But while those chemicals may be clearing the clog, it’s also possible they’re eating away at your actual pipes! So while you may be remedying one problem, you risk creating an even bigger one that will definitely require a professional to correct.

Chemicals also create a hazardous situation for anyone working on the clog because there is a risk of chemicals splashing back and getting in eyes, mouths or on skin.

2) They don’t fully clear a clogged drain

Another issue with chemical drain cleaners is that they only settle at the bottom of your pipes, not fully reaching the full diameter of them. The result is a partially cleared pipe in the areas only where the chemicals touched the clog. And as water continues to flow through your pipes, so does the buildup and sludge that caused your clog in the first place.

3) They don’t work on all clogged drains

Lastly, these drain clog removers don’t work with all types of clogs. While they may temporarily clear your grease or hair clog, your pipes will continue to clog as long as grease and hair keep entering the drain. Chemicals are a temporary fix to a bigger problem. Furthermore, clogs caused by mineral buildup or solid objects don’t respond to chemical cleaners at all.

Trust Drain Cleaning Experts

Our professional and knowledgeable technicians at Reid & Pederson Drainage have the experience and necessary equipment to reach the clog, clean the entire diameter of the pipe and blast clogs away. If you’re experiencing clogged drains in your home in Crete, IL or the surrounding area, it’s best to reach for the phone instead of the chemicals! Learn more about our drain and sewer cleaning services or simply call us today!

South Suburbs
NW Indiana
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