You’ve heard that grease can clog kitchen drains, probably since you fried up your first slice of bacon with dad. However, getting rid of grease is inconvenient, and you might be tempted to ignore that little voice in your head and just pour it down the drain. If you knew why grease is such a big problem for drains (and what will eventually happen if you dispose of grease this way), you might never make this mistake again.
How Does Grease Create Problems in Drains?
It takes a lot of heat to make grease and fat a liquid. When you pour it down your drain, it comes into contact with the cool metal pipes and immediately begins to resolidify. After a few pours of grease, it starts to collect along the walls of the pipe. Eventually, this build-up restricts the passage of water through the pipe and causes your kitchen sink to drain slowly or to back-up.
The grease that doesn’t line the pipe will combine with other things you put down your kitchen sink, like food scraps and coffee grounds. It will then solidify and potentially create a clog or a partial clog. These clogs are often very dense and can form far down the pipe, both of which makes them harder to resolve.
Once you have a partial clog, additional grease will add to it until you have a complete drain clog. Then, you’ll be paying for completely avoidable plumbing repairs.
How to Safely Dispose of Grease
If you can’t put your grease down the drain, what should you do with it? You can keep a disposable container from yogurt or another food product and keep it on your counter. Pour the grease from your pan into the container while it is still hot. Once the container is full and cool, you can simply toss it into the garbage.
Although, if you love the taste of bacon grease, you can reuse the grease within a day or two of pouring it into the container. Use it as you would butter to lubricate your pans and add flavor. Some baking recipes even call for grease or lard from bacon fat.
Those who have a composting program in their city, or composting in their backyard can dump the grease directly onto their compost. Just be warned that if it is your own compost, the grease’s smell does tend to attract animals.
How Plumbers Remove Grease Clogs
What if it’s too late and your grease habits have already created a clog? We don’t suggest that you try to remove it yourself either by pouring hot water down your sink or using a snake. Hot water will only cause the clog to slide further down the pipes. Using a snake improperly can also push the grease clog further down. Your plumber will use their equipment to pull the clog up back to the sink so that it can’t cause problems again.
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