What you should know about your drain.
Monday December 18th 2006, 10:25 am

If there is one lesson to learn in life, it is to never, ever pour anything with fat in it down the drain or down the toilet. I should have known better because a few months ago my brother had to get a plumber to replace some pipes in his home to get the congealed fat cleared from his pipes. The pipes were completely blocked with hardened fat. Apparently this is a common problem because it tends to build up over several years without anyone knowing. This is almost like your arteries after eating too much fat for years.

I had stopped putting drained fat from my cooking down the drain and instead was putting it in our green bin to be composted by the city. However I was still pouring liquids, which were too thick to go down the drain, down our toilet. On Saturday I boiled some spareribs in a pot on the stove before baking them in honey garlic sauce in the oven. The water used to boil the ribs, had a lot of fat in it, but because it was mostly water, I thought the best way to dispose of it was to pour it down the toilet. Boy was I wrong. Apparently the fat hardened in the cold water in the pipes and completely blocked the toilet. There may have already been an accumulation in the pipes and this was the final straw.

My husband used a whole bottle of drain clog remover, bought a new extra strength toilet plunger and even poured hot water down the toilet. This isn’t recommended because the hot water in a cold porcelain toilet can crack the toilet. Thankfully this didn’t happen but we did get dirty water pouring over the floor. We have a very long plumbers snake but that didn’t work because it was too big. My husband thought he would have to remove the toilet and clear it out that way. Instead he bought a small snake which fit into the pipes perfectly and cleared out the blockage.

In future I will put all food to be disposed of, regardless of how liquid it is, in the green bin. I have learned my lesson. This may seem like common sense to some but I am sure many people don’t realize this can happen.

Anne