Blocked drains are usually caused due to FOG which stands for Fat Oil and Grease. Almost all people pour out the contents of a fry pan down the sink when they want to clean it. Others may dispose of liquids such as sauces and gravies by this method as well. Sometimes dishes are washed with food particles and waste food still on the dishes. The result is that this fat, oil and grease builds up and causes the drains to get blocked.
How does FOG do it?
The fat, oil as well as grease when cooled turns into solid. This not only clogs up the drain but also causes saponification. This saponification is created when oil and fat is mixed with a base like caustic soda or sodium hydroxide. As there are a number of base chemicals being poured down the drain as a result of regular washing of different food particles, the fat and grease which is in the drain gets converted to soap and this forms a hard lump in the drain that refuses to budge. In turn, this attracts other debris to it that further narrows down the pipe and decreases the water flow.
There are times when the whole diameter of the pipe gets blocked and no water can pass through. These blobs which result in blocked drains and sewers are called Fatbergs. These are caused when the fat and oil masses mix with other products such as wipes or sanitary products. Most of these products even though stated as disposable, gets attached to the FOG in the drain and causes blocked drains.
How to Prevent FOG
Here are some methods that you can follow to prevent FOG developing in the drains at your home:
- Fat and oil should not be put down the drain.
- Strainers should be used in sinks. These collect the food matter which otherwise would have got mixed with the FOG and would accelerate the blocked drains.
- The kitchen waste should not be swept into the flood drains.
- Food waste should not be disposed into the garbage disposal
- Pots and pans as well as work areas should be wiped before washing.
- The food waste should directly be put into the trash or the compost area
- Waste oil should be collected and stored for recycling.
- The greasy spills should be mopped up and placed in the bin. When a kitchen cloth is used and it is squeezed into the sink, it works the same way as if oil was poured down the drain.
- Harmful chemicals should not be poured down drains.
- Drainage grease traps as well as interceptors should be cleaned frequently.
The sources of FOG
The main causes of FOG are meat fats, food scraps, dairy products, cooking oils, sauces, baked goods, dressings, gravies, sandwich spreads, marinades, shortening, butter, lard and margarine. Even oils that do not solidify at normal temperatures should not be poured down drains as they could solidify in cooler temperatures. They also may cause other grease and fat to get bound. They also could move so quickly that they do not get broken down completely as a result of the treatment process.
In fact home garbage disposals too should not be used for getting rid of grease as they contribute to blocked drains and blocked sewers. Large quantities of detergent should not be poured down drains as they dissolve the grease in the immediate vicinity but it causes problems elsewhere.
FOG not only causes problems in terms of having to engage an emergency plumber but it also damages the environment with blocked drains and blocked sewers.