If you have a kitchen sink that clogs on occasion, then you may be flushing some things down the drain that you should not. This includes grease. While you may know that you probably should not pour grease down the drain, as this is a common tip provided to homeowners, many people will do it anyway. If you are guilty of pouring a small amount of grease down the drain, then keep reading to find out why you should not do this.
Grease Clogs Are Rarely Isolated
Grease clogs are often long and sometimes spread out along several feet of your drainage system. This is especially true if you continually pour grease down your drain. The hot grease will cling to the inside of the pipe and leave residue behind. As the grease cools, it thickens and congeals more aggressively. The grease remains sticky and collects a great deal of other food residue.
To understand why the grease is so problematic, you need to understand the chemical makeup of fat. In general, animal fats are solid at room temperature. These fats are made up of tightly wound and stacked bonds between the molecules. These bonds are extremely difficult to break down or release and the result is a solid fat. Since breakdown is difficult at the molecular level, solid fats are resistant to stress and pressure. This means that the material is extremely difficult to remove from the drain or to clean off your pans.
Heat is the only thing that can excite the molecular bonds in the animal fat enough that it transforms into a liquid. Unfortunately, the hot water cleaning method that individuals often use to clean grease from their drains can become ineffective if the grease clogs are too long. Basically, the water and the grease cool before the heat can effectively liquify the entire clog.
Grease Is Resistant To Water
It probably comes as no surprise that grease is resistant to water. This is one reason why you need dish soap to clean your greasy pans. The soap actually encapsulates the grease molecules so that water can rinse them away.
This means that water has little effect on the grease as it passes through the drain. The grease repels the water flow and remains intact. This is very different from the food and other types of organic matter that enter the drain. Specifically, these substances are likely to be rinsed away over time as water continually flows down the drain.
When grease clogs develop, the grease not only resists water, but it mixes with other bits of debris. This creates a coating over the debris that keeps water from rinsing it away.
You can use dish soap with warm or hot water to try to encapsulate some of the grease and debris, but this may not work for clogs that are already solid.
If you have a stubborn grease clog in your kitchen, contact a plumber to have your drains cleaned.