Where were you when you first found out about fatbergs? If you have been lucky enough to avoid the news stories, you can find out the revolting truth now.
A fatberg is a mass found in a sewer system made of cooking fat combined with sanitary products that have been put down household drains over long periods of time. The mass creates an enormous clog that can’t be washed away. Waste treatment workers have to physically break it down piece by piece to clear the passage and get the system running as it should.
While you probably don’t have to worry about getting emergency workers in Hazmat suits to clean out the drains in your house, the fatberg does carry a lesson for homeowners: waste that seems innocuous can quickly grow to monstrous, drain-clogging proportions if not dealt with correctly. Here are three things all homeowners should know about their drainage systems, and how to keep them fatberg-free:
1. Never Pour Grease Down the Drain
When you’re cooking, oil seems pretty harmless. It’s viscous, so how much damage can it really do if you pour it down your sink?
Cooking fat is only viscous when it’s hot. When that fat cools, it will adhere to the sides of the drain. As time goes on, fat and the waste it collects will create a hardened build-up, reducing the room for water flow.
The ideal way to dispose of cooking grease is to let it cool and solidify while it’s still in the pan and then wipe it off with paper towels. Put the paper towels in the garbage or compost bin. There are also recycling programs that will pick up stored cooking oil, so check to see if one is available in your local area.
2. The Longer You Leave It, the Worse It Gets
The monstrous masses that waste treatment workers have to deal with don’t show up overnight — they accumulate over time. When it comes to your home plumbing, you should never let a clogged drain sit. It will only get bigger. Get proactive about blockages, and if you notice that your sink is taking a long time to drain, deal with the problem immediately.
3. Know When to Call a Professional
Fatty build-up is hard to get rid of without the help of a professional. You can try to unclog your drain with a simple do-it-yourself rinse made from boiled water and dish detergent. Slowly and carefully pour the mixture into the sink to loosen the build-up and clear the passageway.
If that doesn’t work, you need to call Sewer Squad to take a look at your stubborn blockage and come up with the best way to clear it. Your local plumbers will be able to deal with your drainage problems quickly and efficiently.
Of course, paying a professional to come and clean out your drains requires money and time that you would rather not spend. To save yourself from these expenses, be vigilant about keeping cooking grease, fats and oils out of your plumbing.