Your kitchen can be the source of many of the clogs that affect your main drain.
The Problem With Grease
The biggest problem that originates in the kitchen is the grease and fats used in cooking. Whether it's the extra oil from frying or the collected animal fats in the bottom of a roasting pan, grease and fats are bad news for your drains.
Grease is liquid when hot, which makes it look like it can easily wash down the drain and into the sewer. Unfortunately, once it gets deep in the drainpipe, it encounters cold water and cold pipe walls. The grease and fat congeal along the inside of the pipe. Over time, as more grease is poured down the drain, the layer of fatty grease gets thicker.
Garbage Disposal Issues
A garbage disposal can make matters even worse. The disposal makes it tempting to put food down the drain when normally it would go in the garbage. The ground-up food debris then ends up stuck in the grease that is now lining the inside of your pipes. Eventually, a large clog will form.
Certain foods are even more problematic than others. Starchy foods, like rice and pasta, tend to expand and become gummy when caught in wet pipe conditions. Stringy items, like vegetable peelings, have tendrils that will catch even more food debris as it flows past, thus leading to larger clogs.
Repair and Prevention
Once a clog has formed, the only repair option is to have the pipes professionally cleaned. Your plumber may need to use an auger, a type of spiked cable, to initially punch through the clog. Then, water jetting may be used to flush out the debris and remove the fatty buildup from the inside of the line. Water jetting utilizes high-pressure jets of water to clean the entire drain pipe surface so no debris can stick to it.
Prevention is much easier. First and foremost, dispose of grease and fats in the trash. If you must pour a small amount down the drain, flush well with hot water afterward. As for your garbage disposal, avoid putting rice, pasta, and vegetable peelings into it. Scrape plates before washing, as well, so that less food debris ends up in the drain overall. You may still need to have the drain cleaned every few years, but the clogs will be less severe.
Contact a drain cleaning service if you are having issues with your home's drains.