Do you remember the funny scene from the movie Stuart Little 2 where the plumber, trying to retrieve Mrs Little’s diamond ring from the kitchen sink drain pipe, comments “You people sure like your meatloaf”?
How did he know that? It’s because the walls of the drain pipe were coated in a layer of cooking grease. As Stuart himself put it, “There’s a lot of slimy stuff down there.”
Where does this slimy stuff come from?
Grease enters sewer pipes from household drains.
When food scraps, cooking fats, oils and grease are washed down the drain, they tend to collect and stick to household plumbing and sewer pipes.
Over time, it can build up, harden into a plug, and block an entire pipe, causing blocked drains and sewer pipe overflows and backups.
Blocked pipes can cause major problems such as:
- Raw sewage backing up into your home or your neighbour’s home
- Expensive and unpleasant clean-up that, often, you must pay for
- Raw sewage overflowing into gardens, parks, and streets
- Potential contact with disease-causing organisms from the sewage overflow
Fats, oils and greases
Fats, oils and greases (FOGs) are expected by-products of food preparation, whether on a large scale as found in the food industry, or the incidental amounts caused by residential cooking.
FOGs from cooking should NEVER be put down any drain. This includes meat fats, lard, oil, shortening, butter, margarine, food scraps, baking goods, sauces, and dairy products.
Manufacturers of some detergents claim that their products dissolve grease, but domestic detergents are simply not powerful enough to clear pipes. Instead the detergent may pass the grease down the pipeline and cause problems elsewhere.
Even regular drain cleaning will not remove the FOGs from blocked pipes. They need to be emulsified to effectively clear pipes.
What can I do?
- Scrape grease and food scraps into a can or the directly into the rubbish bin.
- Whenever you have a greasy pan to wash, wipe it out first (while it’s still warm, not hot) with newspaper or paper towel.
- Put baskets/strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and then empty them in the bin.
- Encourage your friends and neighbours to keep their sewer clean by keeping grease out of drains.
- Have your grease trap cleaned and inspected regularly by a by a licensed service provider.
If my pipes are already blocked, what then?
Grease Release is a product that can be applied to blocked drains using a high-pressure water jetter. The Grease Release penetrates the FOGs, breaking them down into small particles that will not re-solidify. It also coats the pipelines with a FOGs repelling barrier to minimise future build up.
At Longbeach Plumbing we recommend a yearly maintenance program to prevent untimely blocked pipes.
Click here to learn more about Grease Release.