In August 2013, a “fatberg” was found under London’s streets in the sewers. The fatberg was a massive pile of grease, oil, and fat that had collected from years of people dumping grease down their drains. People started complaining about clogged pipes and the inability to flush their toilets, which was the direct result of greasy piles of gunk that had collected over the years. The newsworthy fatberg, according to National Geographic, was a fifteen-ton mound of grease the size of a school bus!
Hopefully, the people of London have learned an important plumbing lesson: don’t, under any circumstances, pour grease down your drains! Although hot grease is in liquid form, as it cools, it turns into a solid, gooey mass, which will wreak havoc on pipes. Add some hair, non-flushable paper products, and other objects one might not want to fish out of the toilet (like bouncy balls the cat so kindly dropped in the toilet, or army men your toddler thought wanted to go for a swim), and a homeowner may not only have a mess, but also a steep bill for their neighborhood friendly plumber.
Pouring grease down the drain isn’t the only common plumbing mistake people make. Many people have garbage disposals and are under the impression that the garbage disposal can handle anything. But they can’t.
People who peel pounds of potatoes at a time and dump the peels in the garbage disposal may find dull, gooey blades from the starch in all those peels. Corn husks and other fibrous vegetables also have no place in the garbage disposal. Foods that expand when they’re cooked will also clog garbage disposals and drains. Garbage disposals are great for some things, but if homeowners don’t use them properly, they can expect a visit and a bill from the plumber.
We live in an age of Do-It-Yourself. New homeowners are eager to start projects and make their homes just the way they want them. It’s common for them to want to buy all new fixtures to give their new home their personal touch. People run out to the nearest hardware store to buy new sinks, PVC pipes, new fixtures, and even new toilets. However, many of these new homeowners don’t know the first thing about plumbing. And while they can probably figure out the basics of installing a new toilet, sinks can be trickier. If they don’t know how the pipes fit together, if they strip their threads, or just go after the project with a “I’ll figure it out as I go” attitude, they will probably end up with leaky pipes and leaky faucets.
Even a slow drip can cause major damage to wood and cabinetry below the sink. Rotten wood and mold do not belong in anyone’s house. They can cause illness and respiratory problems, not to mention that that little water drip can severely damage or even destroy parts of the house.
So, before you dump that grease, flush that paper towel, grind up all those potato peels, and try to install a new sink, check with the professionals. You may just save yourself from a headache and a hefty bill down the road.
For more information about plumbing, call us at Kirkland And Shaw Plumbing & Heating today.