Imagine that you have just finished cooking a delicious bacon and egg breakfast in your Columbus, Ohio home. As you wash the dishes, you have to determine what to do with the remaining bacon grease. It can be tempting to just dump the grease down the drain. Even though it is hot, it is a liquid, so it will just wash right down the drain, right?
Before dumping grease down the drain, you need to think about what will happen to the oil as it travels down and how it can affect your kitchen drain. Here are some reasons why you should never pour grease down the drain and some options as to what you can do with leftover bacon grease and cooking oils.
What Makes Cooking Oils Solidify?
Every cooking oil or fat will solidify at some temperature. If you refrigerate cooking oil, you will see that it starts to turn cloudy once it hits around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cooking oils are a mixture of several fatty acids and fats. They have unique solidifying temperatures. Saturated fats have a higher freezing temperature than unsaturated fats. The majority of fats are solid at body temperature. Unsaturated fats stay a liquid at lower temperatures.
For example, all oils freeze at 42 degrees Fahrenheit. However, bacon fat will congeal at room temperature. It is now easy to see the danger of dumping cooking oil or bacon grease down the drain.
Many People Still Pour Bacon Grease Down the Drain
Several campaigns have gotten people to stop pouring bacon fat down the drain. If we are being honest, though, everyone still does it at times. At Apex Plumbing Pros, when we are called to fix a clogged drain, it is often because bacon grease or other fats and oils have been dumped down the drain.
Some people pour it down the toilet because they do not want to clog up the sink drain. However, they do not realize that the grease solidifies as it cools down.
In some parts of the world, pouring cooking oils and bacon grease down the drain has led to catastrophic collections of sludge in sewer systems. If you pour oil or bacon fat down the drain, the fat will coat the sides of your water lines. With time, it will build up, making the pipe openings narrow.
The grease that does not stick to your residential pipes will get into the city’s sewer system. It can start to build up and create massive blockages. These fat and grease clogs have gotten so big that city workers have needed to use shovels to remove them in some areas.
Grease Buildup on Your Residential Pipes
If you are being honest, you will likely admit that you have covertly dumped oils or bacon fat down the drain. When washing your pan in the sink, it can be the most convenient way to do it. However, you are putting your residential plumbing and the city's plumbing at risk every time you do so.
When you dump fats down the drain, they cool quickly. Grease is sticky and nonsoluble. As it clings to the pipe walls, it grabs any other trash that you wash down the drain. Do not believe the myth that running hot water or dish soap designed to "cut grease" down the drain will break up or flush the grease out of your pipes. Unfortunately, it will not.
Despite your best efforts, you may not be able to stop grease from entering the drain. You may have some minor success using a vinegar and baking soda combination. However, if you are dealing with a sizable and unresponsive oil or grease blockage, give Apex Plumbing Pros a call. We have the tools and experience to help fix a drain clog. Now that you know the dangers of pouring oils and grease down the drain, let us talk about what to do with it.
An Ounce of Prevention Is Worth a Pound of Cure
Using less fat at the outset will mean that you have less to dispose of after cooking. Instead of deep-frying foods, shallow fry in a pan or roast in the oven. Even small changes can have a huge impact. If you are sautéing foods, instead of using a tablespoon of fat, use a teaspoon. Trim the fat off of cuts of meat, or you can simply choose leaner cuts of meat at the grocery store.
Use Leftover Fat for Future Cooking
Repurposing cooking grease and bacon fat is a great way to add flavor to future recipes. Let the fat cool down. Then, use a paper towel or cheesecloth to carefully strain the fat into the jar. Put it in the refrigerator to use it later.
Transform Grease Into Other Things
You can repurpose leftover cooking grease and use it for things that range from dog treats to candles. Leftover cooking fat can be used in your yard, house, and car. If you do not want to reuse the grease, local recycling programs may offer to collect excess oil to prevent it from ending up in your drains.
Some people take the excess fat and let it solidify. They put it in an old stocking, add birdseed, and roll it all together. They then hang this "bird feeder" outdoors. This can be a much-needed feast for birds that need those extra calories during the winter.
If you have pets, drizzle some excess oil or grease over their food. You can add some of it to your compost heap, too. Earthworms thrive on vegetable fats.
Leftover grease and cooking fats are a reality in all kitchens. However, you can quickly dispose of it without pouring it down the drain. As you discover new ways to minimize cooking fats and oil use or ways to dispose of it responsibly, you can be assured that you are preventing plumbing problems and saving yourself a lot of headaches.
Work With Top-Rated Plumbers
Homeowners and business owners in Columbus, Ohio have come to rely on Apex Plumbing Pros for all of their plumbing needs. Our plumbing services include water heater repair, tankless water heater installation, bathroom remodeling, and commercial plumbing.
If you have recently poured bacon grease or other oil down the drain, do not worry. At Apex Plumbing Pros, we are experts when it comes to drain cleaning and burst pipe repair. We also offer sewer video inspection. Whether you are dealing with a new construction, residential, or commercial property, we have got you covered. We take pride in our customer service and invite you to see for yourself why so many people turn to Apex Plumbing Pros for their plumbing needs. We happily serve Columbus, OH and all the surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment. We are looking forward to working with you and serving your needs.