In previous blogs, we’ve discussed that rinsing food and grease down the drain is probably not the best idea. While homeowners across the world are convinced that they can just chase the oil with a little hot water, it really doesn’t work that way. Continuously allowing oils and grease down the drain will eventually cause your pipes to clog. This will slow drainage, can be expensive to clean or replace, and might even allow sewage to back up.Of the tens of thousands of sewer backups in the US this year, over 40% were directly caused by oil and grease build up.
What Happens in the Piping? Once down your drain, the oils and greases are going to harden as they cool. Sometimes this occurs close to your drain. Like a clogged artery, the fats just harden to the side of the pipe. Often, however, the fats make it into the neighbourhood’s plumbing where they mix with everyone else’s fats and oils. Once in the sewer, the combination of greases begins to break down into smaller molecules and react with the sewage. In particular, calcium binds with the fats to create all kinds of nasty compounds. These almost soapy (if soap was solid cooking grease mixed with human waste) monstrosities, stick to the walls of the sewers, and given enough time, clog over the pipe openings from you and your neighbour’s homes. Hence the backup of sewage when you flush your toilet and there’s no where for it to go.
How to prevent grease buildup in pipes. Prevention is fortunately quite simple. The best prevention is to not put oils or fats down your drain in the first place. However, that can be quite difficult. So while we hope you’ll do your best to avoid dumping grease, it’s also a good idea to help any clogs that are building up on their way. Pour half a small box of baking soda directly down your drain and follow with half a small jug of vinegar. Boil a large pot of water. When the water has boiled, mix in a quarter cup of grease fighting dish soap. Pour the hot, soapy water down the drain. Repeat once a month.
Instead of draining your oils and fats down the sink, we at Plumbing Paramedics suggest Calgarians pour bacon grease, etc into a ceramic cup and allow the fat to solidify. Then throw the fat in the garbage. Remember to use a paper towel to wipe off as much oil as you can from frying pans and any other dishware. If you are producing large amount of grease, you may want to look into a grease recycling program that turns waste fat into biofuel. Now you know how to prevent grease buildup in pipes and manage it. Have a question or a clogged pipe? The expert Calgary plumbers at Plumbing Paramedics can help! Call us today at (403) 452-2911.