Keep the plumber off your holiday guest list – and grease out of your (and our) pipes!

Did you know plumbers refer to the day after Thanksgiving as “Brown Friday” because of the uptick in business they get from feast-clogged pipes and sewer lines?

roasted chickenA home sewer pipe / side sewer clogged with fats, oils and grease
Cooking grease can turn into grease build up in your pipes!

Fats, oils and grease (also known as “FOG”) can cause major home plumbing issues – as well as problems in the sewer system. Just as fatty foods clog arteries, FOG sticks to the inside of pipes causing blockages and backups of raw sewage, that can put your family’s health and the environment at risk.

FOG gets into the sewer most commonly through sinks, dishwashers, and floor drains. Common cooking FOG includes:

  • Any type of cooking oil (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, etc.)
  • Salad dressings
  • Bacon grease
  • Meat fat
  • Shortening
  • Butter
  • Sauces
  • Dairy products
Kitchen cooking products that can cause fats, oils and grease buildup in your pipes
Common sources of pipe-clogging fats include cooking oils, dressing, shortening, butter, sauces, etc.

It may seem harmless to pour and scrape these items into your sink, but it can cause big headaches. Here are some common myths:

  • Running hot tap water will not help grease go down because it will cool as it flows through pipes.
  • Liquid oils, like olive oil, can still solidify in pipes because temperatures dip often dip lower outside of your house or underground, or even in areas inside your house.
  • Soaps and detergents may initially break up grease, but lose that ability as they travel further in pipes.
  • Garbage disposals only shred leftover fats – they do not get rid of them.

The last thing you’re going to want to deal with during the holidays is a sewer overflow, so put cooking oil and grease where they belong: in your garbage, in a tightly-sealed container. Here are some more tips:

  • Put baskets and strainers in sinks to catch food scraps and metal from scrub pads.
  • Don’t put greasy food or meat in garbage disposals.
  • Before washing dishes, use a spatula to scrape batter and food residue from bowls and plates.
  • Never pour oil or grease into a storm drain, which can harm wildlife.
  • Consider recycling large quantities of cooking oil from deep fryers at one of several Puget Sound area locations.
Grease buildup inside a sewer line.
Ewww! Grease buildup inside a large sewer line.

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