Fats, Oils and Grease: How to Save The Holidays by Protecting Your Plumbing

Wait — don’t pour that turkey grease down the drain! We know that the holiday season is a joyful time for friends, family, and good food. With all of the cooking you might find yourself doing, it can be really tempting to take shortcuts. But the truth is that pouring fats, oils, and grease, aka FOG, down your household drains can cause serious problems with your pipes!

When you first pour FOG, it’s extremely hot, and that’s why it seems to flow down so easily. However, as it cools off, it starts to solidify and can clog your pipes right up in no time. Substances such as sauces, meats, dairy, cooking oil, butter, food scraps, and lard can make this congestion even worse. Don’t let your holiday season get ruined because of a nasty repair bill, or any of the other following problems that could arise as a result of blocked pipes:

  • Backed up raw sewage, which is a serious health hazard
  • Expensive and unpleasant clean up
  • Overflow into the local community such as parks, yards, and streets
  • Polluted groundwater, which is bad for the environment
  • Increase in costs for local wastewater utilities, causing even higher sewer bills

That’s not all. Another quality of FOG is that it is high in organic strength. When anaerobic bacteria chow down on it, the byproduct is hydrogen sulfide gas. Add water, and you’ve got a powerful sulfuric acid that will corrode almost any type of piping and cause damage to concrete and ductile iron.

So, how can you prevent this nightmare? The answer is simple: Don’t pour fats, oils, or grease down the drain! Instead, make sure to always pour FOG into empty food cans and then toss them in the trash. Be sure to also wipe down your frying pans with a paper towel to soak up the excess grease for extra safe measure. If you cook frequently, consider installing grease traps, just make sure it is the correct size, installed properly, cleaned/serviced frequently, and that no solids are ever put into it.

FOG isn’t the only thing that can be detrimental to your plumbing. Many homeowners aren’t aware that their practices are causing problems in their pipes and in their community. Double check your habits with these busted myths:

  • Myth: Pouring grease down sink drains or toilets is fine.
  • Fact: Pouring grease anywhere other than metal cans to be discarded in the trash can cause major problems.
  • Myth: Garbage disposals keep grease out of the plumbing system.
  • Fact: Garbage disposals come in handy to prevent other types of clogs, but will not prevent grease from backing up your pipes.
  • Myth: Baby wipes are as flushable as toilet paper.
  • Fact: Just because wipes are marketed as flushable, that doesn’t mean you should. They can actually cause blockages at your local sewer processing plant, so just throw them away!

These tips aren’t just for homeowners. Business owners should also be weary of their plumbing practices and follow these tips to ensure things are running smoothly. In fact, Aqua has actually helped multiple businesses by visiting kitchens via regular inspections to ensure they are compliant with state regulation.

This holiday season, your pipes may be getting clogged faster than you can enjoy the meal that caused it. Make sure that your kitchen’s clean-up crew is aware of the risks, so you can  do yourself a favor and direct all FOG into the trash!