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Here’s Why You Should Not Allow Grease Buildup in Drains

Grease buildup in kitchen sink drain

Pouring grease in drains may not seem like a big deal, but doing so can set you up for future plumbing problems.

Your kitchen sink is the first place all unwanted food and liquids go — among these liquids are cooking oils and grease.

Irresponsibly dumping liquids like grease, semi-solid vegetable oil, butter, lard, and animal fat down the drain can clog your drains and, eventually, your sewer lines. Once the grease buildup in your drains reaches the sewers, the fats mix with the sewage, forming clumps of harmful chemicals that can build up and prevent wastewater from reaching the treatment plant.

As stated in a recent review of the subject, fat and oil buildups cause around 47% of the 36,000 sewer overflows that occur every year in the U.S. This shows that improper disposing of grease will accumulate over time and result in an expensive plumbing bill.

Don’t allow grease to flow down your pipe. Here are the detrimental effects of pouring grease in the sink.

What if You Already Have Hot Grease Down Your Pipe?

Contrary to popular belief, dish soap alone does not dissolve the grease of clogged drains. Although it is effective in cleaning kitchenware, it isn’t meant to eliminate leftover oil in your plumbing system by itself.

If you do opt to use dish soap, slowly pour one gallon of water down your drain first while simultaneously letting the faucet run on the hottest temperature setting. Hot water liquefies the coagulated grease, and the soap water carries it out of your pipes.

As an alternative, you may also use a cup of baking soda, and follow it with one cup, respectively, of vinegar and water. Afterward, plug your drain for five to ten minutes, and finish with a pot of boiling water.

Do note, however, that these solutions are not guaranteed to solve your plumbing problems completely.

What Happens if Grease Flows Down Your Pipe?

Hot grease may be fluid, but it can solidify and form a stubborn clog when poured down your drain. A grease-clogged pipe also acts as a trap for dirt and debris, worsening the problem without you even noticing.

If the grease manages to get through your plumbing, it can be a greater cause for concern once it hits the sewers. Over time, grease formations break down and form fatty acids and glycerol. These fatty acids bind with the calcium in sewage and form soap-like compounds known as “fatbergs.”

When the sewer level rises, the fatbergs attach to sewer ceilings, where they eventually grow until they clog the entire sewer pipe and cause extensive damage to whole neighborhoods and even the city.

The deposited grease in the city’s main public sewer system may harden over time, making it difficult and costly to remove. Grease-clogged pipes can harm one’s health and finances if left unresolved. Some risks include exposure to disease-causing bacteria, basement flooding, and raw sewage overflowing into parks, streets, creeks, and waterways.

How to Properly Dispose of Grease

Regardless of the oil — whether it’s butter, shortening, or olive oil — the best thing to do is to store them in containers, like jars, coffee cans, old plastic bottles, or large Ziploc bags. You can also use a funnel to make the pouring process easier. Once the container is full, seal it, and dispose of it properly by throwing it away or searching for local recycling centers that accept cooking oils. For the latter, carefully follow the specifications and guidelines for storage and separation.

Recycling oil is a go-green process, and there are people who know how to convert oil into different products with various uses, such as heater fuel and biodiesel. Some of the oil recycling and disposal centers you can look for in Arvada, CO, include O’Reilly Auto Parts and Autozone.

How Do You Remove Clogs in Drains and Sewer Lines?

People with plumbing experience buy plumbing snakes or augers to try and clear the clogs themselves, while others use drain cleaners. However, drain cleaners are not ideal as they contain caustic acids that can form holes in your pipes. If mishandled, they can also splash out of the drains and burn your skin and eyes.

For these reasons, it’s always best to call professionals like our plumbers in Arvada, CO. Our experts are equipped with the right skills and equipment to remove blockages in your sink safely and effectively. We know how to unclog a drain with grease in it like the back of our hand, so you’ll have your drains and pipes grease-free in a jiffy.

To make an appointment for sewer and drain line cleaning, as well as plumbing repairs at home, call 720-669-4188 , or email us at Jeff@abetterplumberco.com. We are located at 12445 W 39th Ave Unit 205, Denver, CO 80239, and you can visit us every day from 7 AM to 7 PM.


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