When Christmas dinner leads to a plumbing nightmare

Fat and Oil from your festive Turkey could block your drains - Plumbing boss offers tips to get them clear again

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Your traditional Christmas Day dinner could turn into a nightmare if the fat, oil and grease from cooking are not disposed of properly the Charted Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineers (CIPHE) has warned.

Turkey, roast beef or lamb accompanied by roast potatoes cooked in goose fat creates waste fat and oil which, if poured down the sink or WC, can quickly solidify in the pipes and create a blockage in your drains.

Even those cooking vegetarian and vegan Christmas feasts are not immune, as plant based oils can also cause blockages. The worst place to tip waste is into a mechanical WC, commonly known as a macerator type that has a power supply. These only ever accept toilet paper, anything else will be costly to repair or replace..

Blocked drains can cause:

  • Problems flushing the toilet
  • Issues draining water from sinks and baths
  • Bad smells
  • Contamination
  • Major inconvenience and costs

Jerry Whitely, Technical Manager for (CIPHE) offered advice on avoiding problems and on how to unblock a sink or blocked drain:

“The best way to deal with fat, oil and grease is to let it solidify and put it in a disposable container (like a used margarine tub or yogurt pot) and then put it in the bin. It may seem like common sense but, unfortunately, people pouring cooking fats into the kitchen sink or toilets is the cause of the majority of blockages in drains.

“If you do experience a blockage empty out any surplus water remaining in the sink, add some washing up liquid and pour boiling water from a kettle onto the sink outlet. This should soften any hardened fats then turn on the hot tap to flush any deposits through.

Alternatively, you could use soda crystals (following the directions on the box). Hopefully, the added washing up liquid or soda will help to prevent solidification. If this does not clear it, then it is time to call a professional.”

If the worst should happen and you need a plumbing professional in your area, visit www.ciphe.org.uk