Avoid ‘FOG’ Problems This Winter

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Avoid ‘FOG’ Problems This Winter

The Best Sacramento Plumbers Agree with the Sacramento Area Sewer District:

Fats, Oils, and Grease Belong in the Trash

Best Sacramento Plumber | Fats Oils and Grease

When the weather started to turn colder, the Sacramento Area Sewer District sent a message throughout the county. It seems that once the holiday season kicks in, they see more and more backed-up sewers and overflows. What’s the culprit? In short: FOG.

FOG stands for fats, oils, and grease. In other words, all the things doctors say are bad for your internal “pipes” are also bad for sewers.

At Always Affordable Plumbing in Sacramento, we see the same thing. Holiday cooking—with its leftover gravy and gunk—goes down the drain. Meanwhile, the people responsible for keeping pipes flowing work frantically to ensure nothing blocks the most wonderful time of the year.

What’s the Big Deal?

Fat may flow from your pan and through your garbage disposal, but it doesn’t always stay in motion. Bits and blobs can cling to the sides of pipes as they cool, separate from other liquids, and solidify.

Over time, this ever-thickening layer can cause the pipes to narrow. As a result, water and anything else you wash down the drain can move more slowly. This can lead to clogs in your home—and beyond. Even grease alone can accumulate enough to form a total blockage. Consequently, wastewater can back up and flow into your house. Likewise, on a larger scale, backups can lead to sewage pouring into streams, rivers, and other waterways.

This is bad for the environment. It’s bad for your house. It’s bad for your wallet, because you may have to pay for repairs in your home. Moreover, public infrastructure problems due to FOG can cause monthly rates to go up.

Take Three Steps

Instead of dumping fats, oils, and grease in the sink, follow three easy steps for the good of your pipes.

First, tip your pot, pan, or tray to pour of cooled oil and grease into a can or similarly sturdy container. You can re-use the stuff in some cases. Or you can throw it away once the container is full. Don’t have an established grease holder? Save the pasta sauce can when making spaghetti. Also, be sure the FOG is fully cooled and congealed, and that the container is sealed, before throwing it out.

(Note that liquid cooking oil is its own problem, as it never solidifies. Some areas deploy teams to pick up jugs of cooking oil at the curb on collection day. It’s important to check with your waste collection service. In other areas, cooking oil and other FOG products can be taken to special recycling facilities.)

Second, scrape out any oily or fatty residue left in your pots and pans.  The Sacramento Area Sewer District recently mailed out handy plastic scrapers for this very purpose. They say “STOP THE CLOG” and are a little larger than a credit card. Didn’t get one? In the same vein, any flat, rigid surface will do. If your pans can handle it, use a spatula. You could also try an index card or paper towel. Toss the scraped-out goop before washing the pan.

Third, be sure to throw any grease-laden or fatty food scraps away. In other words, don’t take care of the leftover oil, but forget that FOG can squish and squeeze out of leftovers heading through pipes, too. Use a mesh strainer in your sink to catch chunks you don’t want going down the drain. Scrape post-dinner plates into the garbage, not the sink.

Don’t Hesitate to Call Us

Worried about FOG in your pipes? Always Affordable Plumbing can inspect them before there’s a problem, or help clear them out if they back up. Call (916) 970-0099!

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Best Sacramento Plumber | Fats Oils and Grease