Tips for keeping the emergency plumber from your door


In Consumer Advice, Drainage

If there’s one thing that can cheer you up in the middle of a global pandemic, it’s Christmas. With the UK’s Covid-19 restrictions temporarily relaxed to allow ‘Christmas bubbles’ of a maximum of three households to come together between 23rd and 27th December, many families will be looking forward to sharing a hearty dinner with loved ones on the big day.

Whatever your Christmas lunch of choice, be it from traditional turkey, to your favourite vegetarian choice, for many it is the extras such as roast potatoes or Yorkshire Puddings that really make the day. And, while it may make your mouth water, there is an unsavory side should your the fat, oil and grease (FOG) from cooking block your drains.

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 resulting in:

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

Jerry Whitely, 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 and put it in a disposable container (like a used margarine tub or yogurt pot) and then empty 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:

  1. Empty any surplus water remaining in the sink.
  2. 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.
  3. If this has not dislodged the blockage, you can use soda crystals (following the directions on the box).
  4. 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. Please follow this advice and keep Christmas merry.

If the worst happens and you need a plumbing professional, remember to make sure you know the full cost of any call out charges and only ever use a professional. Visit at any time of the night or day to find vetted professional engineers in your area.