Here’s why you should avoid putting grease down your drain
When it comes to maintaining your home, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. There’s quite a few home maintenance myths out there. You may have heard a friend tell you that you should turn your AC off when you’re away to “save energy.” In most cases, that’s not true. Or, you may have had a family member tell you that your gutters only need to be cleared in the fall. Also not true.
Here’s a home maintenance tip that is true, however: you never want to pour grease down your kitchen sink drain. In this article, we’ll discuss why this is the case and the threat that grease can potentially present to your home if you’ve been disposing of grease in the sink.
Is grease really that bad for my drain?
Yes. It’s not just something your dad made up back when you were living at home: you never want to pour grease down your kitchen sink drain.
Most homeowners who are disposing of grease in their sink are doing so when it’s still hot—and a liquid. They’ve just finished cooking bacon, a burger, or something equally greasy, and they now need to get rid of that grease to either continue cooking or to clean the kitchen. Unfortunately, grease doesn’t stay in a liquid form for long. As we all know, it starts to solidify as it cools. When you pour grease down your sink drain, that process starts to happen deep in your home’s drain, and often in the sewer line that runs between your home and the municipal sewer.
As the grease cools and changes forms from a liquid to a solid, it often starts to adhere to the interior walls of the line. This greasy coating then fully solidifies, forming the start of what will eventually become a very nasty—and very serious—clog. Worse, that grease can start to cause other materials to get stuck in the sewer line, accelerating the clog-forming process. It’s one of the most common types of drain issues.
Ultimately, you’ll need to bring in a plumber to help with clearing and cleaning the drain.
How should I dispose of grease?
Instead of pouring grease down the drain, pour it into another container that can later be thrown in the trash once the grease has solidified. Many homeowners hold onto empty screw-top jars—think about a jar of pasta sauce—for this exact purpose. Glass jars are great for disposing of cooled grease. They won’t melt like plastic from the initial heat, and their airtight seal helps keep any odors inside the jar.
If you don’t have any old glass jars around, you can always upcycle to-go containers, or even use a kitchen funnel to fill an aluminum pop can with the leftover grease. Really, anything’s better than pouring that grease down your drain!
Watch: Why you should never pour grease down the drain
This video from Tech Insider shows you the real damage that grease can cause to your sewer line.
What happens to my drain if I pour grease down it?
As that grease solidifies and builds up inside your home’s drain pipes and sewer line, it’ll eventually get to the point where it starts to restrict the flow of wastewater down the drain and away from your home. You’ll initially notice that all the drains in your home—including your sink, shower and tub drains—are moving a little slower than normal. You might also be able to smell the problem.
If this is the case, count yourself lucky that you’ve received a warning ahead of potential disaster and call a plumber right away. What comes next is not something you want to deal with if you can avoid it.
Eventually, that partial clog in the sewer line will turn into a full clog. Now, the wastewater from your sinks, shower, tub and toilets has nowhere to go. As it hits this new roadblock in the line, it starts to move back up, toward your home. At this point, all the drains in your home appear as though they are clogged. If more wastewater is added to the system from this point forward, you’re at serious risk of a sewer backup, where wastewater comes back up through the drain and starts to flood your place.
If you’re at the point where you have multiple, simultaneous clogs in your home, you’re at the point where you need to immediately turn off the water to your home and call a plumber.
What foods clog drains?
Grease is, by far, one of the worst offenders. But, it’s far from being the only bad thing you can put down your drain. In fact, there are a number of types of food waste you want to avoid washing into your sink.
Uncooked Rice & Pasta
As we all know, rice, pasta and certain other grains—think quinoa—vastly expand as they absorb water, growing in size. When you pour uncooked rice or pasta down the drain, it starts to expand deep in your drain line. From there, it can easily become stuck and start to form a clog.
When wet, coffee grounds have a tendency to stick together and form clogs. The next time you make coffee, take a look at the filter basket—you’ll notice that the grounds have sunk in and are closely packed together. Never clean out your coffee pot in the sink. Instead, empty its filter basket directly into the trash can.
As any baker knows, adding liquid to flour helps to make a dough. The last thing you want is that dough starting to form inside of your home’s drains. A sticky dough can be the ideal start to a tough-to-clear clog.
When you notice a clog forming, call a plumber
If you’re noticing your drains are moving more slowly than usual—or, worse, aren’t draining at all—you need to bring in a plumber to inspect your drains. Here in Albuquerque, you’ll want to call our team at Wagner. We have all the tools and experience, from drain rooting to hydro-jetting, needed to clear even the toughest of drain clogs.
Our plumbers care about you and your home. We’ll want to make sure that your drains and sewer line are clear of any obstructions so that you can resume your day-to-day routine.