Christmas Day is fast approaching and we are all in need of some festive cheer. But did you know that every year some unfortunate souls have their Christmas end in disaster, because the fat, oil and grease (FOG) from cooking blocks their drainage, leading to a plumbing emergency?
Whatever your Christmas lunch of choice, be it from traditional turkey to your favourite vegetarian dish, for many it is the extras such as roast potatoes or Yorkshire Puddings that really make the day. While the meal may be delicious, there’s no denying roasting trays across the land will be full of FOG come washing up time. When fat or oil (animal and plant based) is poured down the drain, sink or WC at a temperature above its melting point, it will then cool and solidify and this can cause blockages in your drain or that of your neighbours. Those local problems are than exacerbated when multiple instances of FOG in drains reach the wider sewer network.
Blocked drains can cause:
- Problems flushing the toilet
- Issues draining water from sinks and baths
- Bad smells
- Major inconvenience and costs.
Jerry Whiteley, Technical Manager for the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) said, “No one wants to call out for an emergency plumber on Christmas Day, so you need to make sure you dispose of FOG correctly. Let it solidify, wrap it in some left over tin foil and place it in the bin. Never pour it down the sink or into a mechanical WC. People pouring cooking fats into the kitchen sink or toilets, is the number one cause of blockages in drains.”
If you do experience a blockage due to FOG, Jerry advises you to:
- Empty any surplus water remaining in the sink.
- Add some washing up liquid and pour boiling water from a kettle onto the sink outlet to soften any hardened fats. Then, turn on the hot tap to flush any deposits through.
- If this has not dislodged the blockage, you can use soda crystals (following the directions on the box).
- If this does not clear the blockage, then it is time to call a professional.
And remember, even if you do clear any blockages locally, FOG in sewer pipes and systems frequently causes major disruption that can find its way back to your property again.
If the worst happens and you need a plumbing professional, remember to make sure you know the full cost of any Christmas call out charges and only ever use a professional. Visit www.ciphe.org.uk at any time of the night or day to find vetted professional engineers in your area.