In some ways, drains have an almost magical quality. Once dirt and grime go down the drain, you never have to see it again. Unfortunately, some homeowners in Newburgh take this concept to the extreme, putting whatever they can down their home’s drains.

Something that’s particularly damaging to put down your drain is grease. Rather than causing an instant clog, grease will build up over time until you’re left with a slow-flowing drain and a major mess to clean. At Polar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, we want to help you protect your drains. Here are some tips to prevent issues with your drain.

Think Long Term

Although pouring grease down the drain is a bad idea, it’s easy to understand why homeowners choose this option. After all, when grease is fresh, it’s a liquid. Since many liquids can be poured down the drain, grease seems to be safe. However, when putting grease or any other substance down your drain, you should think long term. Once the grease is down the drain, it begins to cool. As it cools, it begins to congeal. Over time, congealed grease will accumulate in your drains and prevent water from flowing through properly. Plus, congealed grease is sticky, allowing it to attract and hold onto other debris, leading to a major blockage in your drain.

Cool Walls

Most blockages in a drain happen in the P-trap. This section of your drain holds a small amount of water to help prevent sewer gases from entering your home. Given its curved nature, items that are accidentally dropped down the drain usually end up in the P-trap. However, when it comes to grease, you’ll tend to run into different problems. The entire length of your drainpipe is typically cool to the touch. This means that grease can congeal at any point along the drainpipe. Therefore, rather than dealing with a clog in a single location, you may end up with clogs in multiple locations, leading to a much more difficult repair process.

Cleaning Clogged Drains

In some cases, drains clogged by grease require professional attention from Polar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. If too much grease has accumulated on the walls of your home’s drains, then physical removal through hydro-jetting or other mechanical means may be necessary. Fortunately, you can take care of many grease clogs with simple home remedies. Since the goal is to get the grease to turn back to liquid, boiling water is a great ally in the fight against grease clogs. It’s also important to add another cleaning agent to the boiling water to help dissolve the grease. You can try using white vinegar or a mixture of baking soda and salt to get your drains back to optimal condition. It’s important, in all cases, to avoid using chemical drain cleaners since these are designed to dissolve hair and paper instead of grease.

What About Garbage Disposals?

Garbage disposals are a convenient tool to have in your kitchen. By chopping up common kitchen waste, you can confidently dispose of vegetable peels and other items without having to worry about clogging your drain. It’s important to note, though, that a garbage disposal does nothing to reduce the risk of clogs posed by grease. Since grease is already a liquid when it’s warm, a garbage disposal can’t chop the grease into smaller particles. In fact, a garbage disposal may actually cause more problems if you pour grease down the drain because it adds extra complexity, adding another location for grease accumulation to occur.

Other Items to Avoid

While talking about what not to put down your home’s drains, there are other items besides grease that can harm drains. For example, eggshells can be harmful because they become tiny when they’re put through a garbage disposal yet still remain rigid. When these small pieces come into contact with other problem areas in your drains, they can get stuck and then attract other debris, leading to further clogs. You should also avoid coffee grounds because they’re abrasive and can easily become lodged in coagulated fats in your drains. Rice, flour, pasta, and other items that can become sticky when wet should also be avoided.

What to Do With Leftover Grease

Many different types of cooking result in unwanted grease or other types of liquid fat. What, then, should you do with these substances since you can’t pour them down the drain? As much as possible, Polar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning recommends putting these substances in your garbage can. For grease, you can put it in the refrigerator until it firms up so that it’s easier to throw away. For other types of liquid fats, you can put some paper towels inside a discarded box and pour the fat inside. Make sure that you use a trash can with a liner in case there are any spills or leaks.

Proper Drain Maintenance

Properly maintaining your drains can help avoid clogs even when you accidentally put the wrong things down your drains. A mixture of hot water, baking soda, and vinegar can help to clean your home’s drains and remove any buildup on the walls of the drains. You’ll want to start by putting the baking soda in the drain, followed by the vinegar. Once the fizziness dies down, you can follow that mixture with an ample amount of hot water. There are also biodegradable drain sticks available that slowly release enzymes to help keep things flowing smoothly. Of course, if you suspect a problem, you can always give Polar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning a call to inspect your drains so that you can address any issues before they become serious.

Signs of a Clogged Drain

If you’ve been putting grease down your drains, you may be close to having fully clogged drains. It’s important to know the signs of a clogged drain so that you don’t end up with water damage to your home. The first and most obvious sign of a clogged drain is a slow-draining sink. In many cases, unusual noises will also happen when the water is draining from the sink if the water is having trouble going where it’s supposed to go. You might also notice water backing up into other drains in your home, especially drains on a lower level. Finally, if you smell foul odors coming from your drains, there’s a good chance that there are substances in your drain that are clogging it while releasing a foul odor as they decompose.

Keeping Drains Clear

At Polar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, we are proud of the work we do to help our customers in Newburgh and the surrounding New York counties enjoy a worry-free life at home. That’s why we offer drain cleaning, water heater installation, pipe repair, and other plumbing services to make sure you can take care of all of your day-to-day water-related tasks. Plus, we offer HVAC services and can take care of any heating and cooling repairs, installation, and maintenance jobs. Our five-star customer reviews attest to the fact that we take pride in everything we do. To learn more about taking care of your home’s HVAC or plumbing, contact us at Polar Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today.

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