Why You Should Never Pour Grease Down the Drain

Putting Grease Down a Sink

Never – under any circumstances – pour grease down the drain. You might be eager to rid your kitchen of the unctuous mess, but grease can wreak havoc on your plumbing, septic tank, and local sewer system! Pour grease into a jar and dispose of it once it has cooled down instead.

Why Is It Bad to Pour Grease Down the Drain?

Grease, as you’re probably aware, is comprised mostly of fat. That’s why fried food tastes so good – because fat is delicious (as much as our doctors wish that it wasn’t).

Saturated fats such as butter and bacon grease are made of long, chain-shaped molecules. Such molecules stack closely together, which enables saturated fats to coagulate at room temperature.

In short, although grease is liquid when you pour it down the drain, it solidifies within a few minutes to form a sticky mass that obstructs plumbing. If you’d prefer not to think of warm grease in scientific terms, then you may instead consider it a magic potion that causes plumbing problems.

What Happens When You Pour Grease Down the Drain?

Nothing good. When grease sticks to the inside of plumbing it causes water to drain too slowly. A grease-caked drain may also stink and make gurgling noises. Allow enough grease to solidify inside your plumbing and it will cease to function altogether, thus causing pipes to back up. Snaking a drain free of accumulated grease can cost over $200!

Pouring grease down the drain can even cause a city-sized headache. In 2013 the city of London narrowly avoided flooding with sewage due to a 15-ton grease ball that had accumulated inside of the municipal sewage system. It took one man three weeks to eradicate the “fatberg” with a pressure washer. Whatever he’s getting paid, it’s not enough.

Don’t just avoid pouring grease down the drain to preserve your plumbing’s functionality and save money on repairs. Do it for the sake of the poor guy who’ll have to clean out your city’s sewage system!

What Should You Do If You’ve Poured Grease Down the Drain?

Did you suffer from a lapse in judgment and pour some grease down the drain? One spill won’t ruin you if you take the right steps immediately afterward.

You can follow up the grease with boiling water (not hot water – boiling water). This will return the solidified grease back to its liquid state so it can continue passing through your plumbing. It will likely take several pours of boiling water until the grease has passed through your home’s plumbing system.

Adding baking soda and vinegar to boiling water will make it even more effective at breaking down fat. (These two ingredients aren’t just useful for making unimpressive middle school science fair volcanoes.) You may instead add ammonia to the boiling water, as this will also help to liquefy grease. Just take care not to inhale too many noxious ammonia fumes.

These solutions won’t make life any easier for whoever manages your city’s sewer system, but they can spare you a great deal of inconvenience.

You May Need a Plumber to Fix a Grease Clog

Unfortunately, no amount of boiling water will free up a significant amount of grease that has deposited itself in your plumbing. If you have poured enough grease down the drain over an extended period of time, only a plumber can fix the problem.

If you live in the greater Sioux Falls area and need a plumber, then we welcome you to reach out to PrairieSons today. Our plumbers have dealt with grease clogs so large that you wouldn’t like to imagine them. They’re poised to make very short work of your plumbing’s grease deposits, as well as take care of all your other plumbing needs while they’re at it.