Skip to Content
Serving Jacksonville, St. Augustine & Palm Coast
Emergency Service Available 904-605-8190

The Problem With Pouring Grease Down Your Drain


Clogged drains are one of the most common plumbing problems homeowners deal with. And one of the most common clogs is caused by disposing of grease down the kitchen sink. It might be tempting and convenient to dispose of grease this way, but it can cause costly problems for you and the city you live in.

Running hot water and turning on the garbage disposal while pouring hot grease down the drain does not work! Here's what to do instead.

What Happens When You Pour Grease Down Your Drain

Did you know the city of Jacksonville spends up to $800,000 per year to address gobs of fat in sewer lines? When the fats in the grease and oil from your kitchen mix with other objects (primarily baby wipes) and chemicals in the sewer, they form nasty accumulations known as fatbergs which are not completely biodegradable. Eventually the buildup results in sewer overflows and other sewer line problems.

How Grease in Pipes Affects Plumbing

The grease you pour down the drain might be hot when you do it, but it solidifies once it cools, and that's usually somewhere in your pipes. It then becomes a sticky trap for all the other debris you put down the drain. In time, this blockage causes the drain to slow and pipes to clog. What doesn't get caught in your home's pipes eventually makes it way to your city's sewer system.

How Grease in Your Pipes Affects the City's Sewer System

When fats, oils, and grease (FOG) make their way to a city's sewer mains and laterals (which connect your house to the public sewer main under the street), it causes problems for the city's entire sewer system. Those problems can cause some nasty and expensive damage:

  • Raw sewage overflowing and backing up into you and your neighbors' homes as well as business properties. Parks, streets, rivers, creeks, and lakes are also affected.
  • Basement flooding.
  • Exposure to disease-causing organisms.

Unfortunately, the costs to repair all this damage eventually gets passed on to you and the utility's other customers.

How to Properly Dispose of FOG

Florida's not-for-profit utility, JEA serves 280,000 sewer customers. The service provider has both a residential and commercial fats, oils, and grease disposal program as well as some tips on how to properly dispose of these leftovers:

  • Pour cooking grease into a used can.
  • Seal the can in a plastic bag.
  • Put the bag in the trash or recycle it for biofuel through the disposal program.

How to Prevent Pipe & Sewer Blockages

Prevention is key to avoiding clogged drains. Of course,never, ever, pour grease down the drain or into a toilet. And place drain baskets or strainers in the sink to catch food scraps and other solid wastes so they don't go down the drain and mix with FOG that surrounding homes might have disposed of.

If you've already been pouring grease down your drain, it's probably a good idea to have a professional plumber clear your plumbing system. The plumbers at David Gray Plumbing have the knowledge, skills, and tools necessary to clean out your Jacksonville, FL home's pipes.

To learn more about all the services we offer or to schedule regular plumbing maintenance, give us a call at (904) 605-8190 or contact us online today.