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Beware the FOG: Preventing Clogged Drains

Comfort Zone - Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning Blog

McMahon Plumbing + Heating Blog

If you want to avoid clogging your drains, here are the things you should never dump down the sink.

You’re probably aware of the need to avoid a lot of fat in your diet. Did you know that the same applies to your sink drain? Plumbers refer to fats, oils, and greases as FOG – and FOG causes clogs!

Why does this happen? If you pour hot grease or oil down the drain, it will cool and solidify on the edges of the pipes. Over time, the fat will build up until the drain is totally blocked. Liquid drain cleaners can corrode plastic or metal pipes, and may even make the problem worse by sending the blockage further down the drain pipe.  Over time, your main sewer line may become clogged – an even worse problem! In 2017, an 800-foot “fatberg” was recovered from the London sewer system.

Things Never To Dump

Now that we’ve totally grossed you out, here are a few things you should never dump into your drain:

  • Oil and butter. Dipose of used cooking oil in a covered can and discard it in the trash. (If you’re a commercial enterprise, consult your waste disposal service for alternatives such as cooking oil recycling. If you need to dispose of a lot of cooking oil, say, when you’ve deep-fried a turkey, your community may have a recycling drop-off center that will accept it.)
  • Dairy products like mayonnaise, sour cream, cheese, yogurt.
  • Pan drippings from cooking meat. Wipe the pan out with a paper towel and discard it in the trash.
  • Food scraps containing meat or fat. Even if you have a garbage disposal, you should never put pie dough, fat remaining on plates, cheese, cake frosting, etc. down the disposal.

You may even want to be careful about the soap you use in your bathroom. Much soap is made with beef tallow, which can mix with hair and clog your sink or shower drain. It’s a good idea to invest in an inexpensive drain strainer if you don’t already have one.

Remember, the small effort it takes to keep FOG out of your drain is far outweighed by the hassle and expense that comes with a clog.

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