Christmas dinner down the drain


In Drainage, Consumer Advice

Are you dreaming about Christmas Day dinner? Whether you are going traditional with a turkey, or treating yourself to a nice bit of roast lamb or beef, it has to be topped off with all the trimmings, maybe pigs in blankets and roast potatoes cooked in goose fat. However, for some, the dream dinner will turn into a nightmare, if the fat, oil and grease (FOG) from cooking are not disposed of properly.

When fat is poured down the drain, sink or WC at a temperature above its melting point, it will then cool and solidify. This can form deposits that restrict the flow and cause blockages in your drains. Those cooking vegetarian and vegan Christmas feasts are not immune, as plant-based oils can also cause blockages. The worst place to tip waste is into a mechanical WC, commonly known as a macerator type that has a power supply. These only ever accept toilet paper, anything else will be costly to repair or replace.

Blocked drains can cause:

  • Problems flushing the toilet
  • Issues draining water from sinks and baths
  • Bad smells
  • Contamination
  • Major inconvenience and costs

Moreover, if you are unlucky, it can affect your neighbour’s drains too. This will really put you in the bad books and potentially double the costs of having your drains cleared by a professional.

Jerry Whitely, Technical Manager for the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) said, “The best way to deal with FOG is to let it solidify and put it in a disposable container (like a used margarine tub or yogurt pot) and then put it in the bin. It may seem like common sense but, unfortunately, people pouring cooking fats into the kitchen sink or toilets is the cause of the majority of blockages in drains.

“If you do experience a blockage due to FOG, empty out any surplus water remaining in the sink, add some washing up liquid and pour boiling water from a kettle onto the sink outlet. This should soften any hardened fats then turn on the hot tap to flush any deposits through.

Alternatively, you could use soda crystals (following the directions on the box). Hopefully, the added washing up liquid or soda will help to prevent solidification. If this does not clear it, then it is time to call a professional.”

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