garbage disposal

What Not to Pour Down the Drain

August 25, 2015
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The professionals at ServiceOne AC & Plumbing wants homeowners to know some simple steps that will help to keep your property’s drains and pipes clear of any issues.

“Homeowners typically don’t think about a home’s pipes since they’re typically behind the scenes (or walls or cabinet doors) quietly gurgling along,” says ServiceOne founder and president Bill Gouty. “However, when something goes wrong with the toilet or faucet the whole house can come to a stop creating a crisis situation.”

To keep a home’s pipes in working order and protect the environment, Gouty explains what not to pour down the drain:

1. DO NOT POUR BLEACH DOWN YOUR DRAINS

The idea of regularly pouring bleach down the drain, in order to clean out all the gunk, is an old wives’ tale. Bleach is a powerful, toxic substance that should be used carefully, and pouring it down a drain is not a proper use. Bleach can react with other substances in your pipes, potentially releasing fumes, creating a potential health hazard.

2. DO NOT DISPOSE OF COOKING GREASE OR OIL DOWN THE DRAIN

Some cooks want to pour cooking oil into the kitchen sink and watch it slither down the drain. This is a very bad idea. Cooking grease does not get broken down, so it builds up over time, even if you only infrequently pour it down your kitchen drain. Grease that does not get broken down by soap hardens and clogs the pipes. Even if it makes it all the way to the sewers, grease can damage the environment by combining with soap-like chemicals, blocking pipes, and causing sewer overflows.

If you must get rid of cooking grease in your sink, first wipe up as much of it as possible with paper towels. Then, flush it with cold water, not hot. Cold water solidifies grease into particles, which makes its journey much smoother. Warm water melts the grease, or keeps it in a semi-liquid state, which means it will harden when it reaches a cold spot in your pipes. At that point, it’s likely to solidify where it should not and impede drainage.

3. DO NOT DISPOSE OF LARGE QUANTITIES OF FOOD DOWN THE DRAIN

It’s easy to get rid of leftovers by mashing them down the kitchen sink, but this is one of the worst things you can do to your pipes. Like most other substances, food will accumulate in your drains over time and clog the system. Not only can this quietly accumulate over time, it will also create a stinky situation. The average garbage disposal cannot effectively shred certain items like meat, which becomes stringy and wraps itself around the blades of the unit. Meat dulls the blades and renders them less able to break down other food items that go in later.

If you’re going to use the garbage disposer, get rid of disposer-friendly food in small batches  along with some running water.

4. DO NOT DISPOSE OF “STARCHY” FOODS DOWN THE DRAIN

Similarly, starch from rice, pasta, and potato skins makes the blades of the garbage disposal slimy, either rendering them ineffective, or simply clogging them up.

5. OTHER THINGS TO NEVER WASH DOWN THE DRAIN

The following items are also no-no’s for drains (including garbage disposers): coffee grinds, egg shells, produce stickers, large chunks of garbage, paper towels, flushable cat litter, motor oil, transmission fluids, anti-freeze or other toxic chemicals, and prescription and over-the-counter medications.

“Don’t under estimate the value of your pipes and their role in keeping your home running smoothly,” advises Gouty. “If you have any trouble, don’t hesitate to call us at ServiceOne. We have a team of highly qualified plumbers who are available 24/7.”

This post was written by Plumbing Specialist