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Avoid Cold Weather Plumbing Issues

COMMUNITY CENTERGreen Homes & BusinessesDec 14, 2012Brianna Venner

Author: Brianna Venner

Baby, it’s cold outside… and your pipes feel a chill, too! During cooler winter months, municipal wastewater departments often see a spike in stoppage calls. Colder pipes mean fats, oils, and grease (FOG) washed down the drain cool even faster than during the rest of the year. FOG down the drain could mean an unfortunate backup in your home (let’s hope it doesn’t happen during your holiday dinner!) or cause a sanitary sewer overflow (SSO) in your neighborhood, sending sewage into the storm drain system. Here’s a little quiz to test your green knowledge regarding fats, oils, and grease and your kitchen:

Q: Do foods like sauces, soups, icing, batter, and ice cream contain FOG that could clog my pipes?

A: Yes.  It’s not just bacon, hamburger, and the usual culprits that cause FOG to build up.  Any food with fat, oil, or grease can cause problems.

Q: True or False.  Using the garbage disposal to dispose of food is a good idea.

A: False.  Food particles mix with cooling FOG and create a kind of grease concrete.  It’s best to dispose of all types of foods in your trash, or better yet, start composting!

Q: Do you use a heat safe container, like an old soup can, to dispose of cooking grease?

A: If you answered yes, you know what you’re doing.  Pour the liquid grease into the can, freeze it, and throw it out in the trash once it’s cooled. To really protect your pipes wipe dishes with a paper towel before washing and use a sink strainer to catch food scraps.