Tis the season! At this time of year many people find themselves cooking delicious meals for friends and family. But, once you cook a meal you may have leftover cooking grease or oil and the last thing you want to do is dump it down the drain while washing pots and pans. In fact, pouring grease or oil down the drain is one of the most common plumbing problem causes. You may think all of that liquid grease will simply rinse down the drain and go away but that is not the case. Grease from animal fats and even vegetable oil may start as liquid but as you pour it down the drain it will coat the interior of the drain and any other debris that may be inside your drain. And, as that hot or warm liquid grease cools it will harden inside the pipes and lead to clogs.
If you pour liquid grease down your drain, it is not just a slow drain that you will be dealing with – it could be far worse. Business Insider explains the ramifications of pouring liquid grease down your drain, “The answer lies in the chemistry that happens after your wastewater is flushed from your pipes and delivered to the sewers: The fats in the grease and oil from your kitchen mix with the other chemicals in the sewers and form nasty conglomerations of chemicals that can build up and block the pipes that take our dirty water to the wastewater treatment plant. According to a recent review of the subject, these fat and oil buildups caused about 47% of the up to 36,000 sewer overflows that happen annually in the U.S… When you pour grease into your sink it’s just beginning its travels. The grease and oil head down your pipes and into the sewers where they meet up with all the other wastewater from the area…But things get really nasty when these greasy globs reach the sewers and merge with everyone else’s fat and oils. The fats in the grease get broken down into their component parts — fatty acids and glycerol. These fatty acids bind calcium found in the sewers — created from biological processes including the corrosion of concrete — to create a “soap” compound. When sewer levels rise high, these fat blobs glob onto the ceiling of the pipes, creating stalactite-type structures that are sometimes called “fatbergs”… These clogs block the sewer line and can cause disgusting and dangerous backups. While drain cleaners might clear out your pipes in your home, the greasy mess just gets washed into the sewers afterward, creating a bigger problem down the line.”
This completely preventable plumbing problem is one that often necessitates a call to the plumber. Many grease blockages are difficult for the average homeowner to clean themselves because they do not have the knowledge, tools, or resources to do so properly. When you have leftover grease or oil from cooking it is best to wipe out the excess with a paper towel and throw it away. Or, you can pour the grease into a glass or disposable container, wait for it to cool, and then dispose of it in the trash. If it is already too late for you and you find that you have a plumbing clog that you suspect maybe the result of a grease blockage it is best to call a trusted and experienced plumber who can not only clear the clog but fully eradicate it so that you will not continue to have the same problem again and again.