Fat Chance: Is Keto Dieting Blocking Your Drains?

The keto diet has exploded in popularity in recent years, and many people are using this low-carb diet to improve their physical and mental health. Unfortunately, while the keto diet can be beneficial for your mind and body, it might not be so good for your home's drains and plumbing.

How Can Keto Dieting Affect Your Home's Plumbing?

A keto diet contains very few carbohydrates, and large amounts of fat. The idea is to stop your body from using carbs and sugars for energy and force it to burn fat to use as fuel instead. When followed correctly, it can be an effective weight loss tool and may have other health benefits.

Unfortunately, because the keto diet is so high in fat, a lot of the fats and oils you use to cook keto-friendly meals can end up clogging your home's drains. Fats and cooking oils should never be disposed of down drains, because they solidify at relatively high temperatures. Over time, solidified fat can build up in your drains, causing partial or complete blockages that can be very difficult to remove.

To make matters worse, because the keto diet includes so much fat, many people who follow it try to use healthier, minimally processed fats in their meals. Refined coconut oil, beef tallow, lard, and unsalted butter are all popular choices.

These types of fat solidify at higher temperatures than more commonly-used cooking oils and processed fats. Many are solid at room temperature, and will therefore solidify inside drains very quickly, even when flushed with warm water.

It isn't just fats that keto dieters need to worry about — other keto-friendly foods can also be notorious drain blockers. Eggs are a staple of many keto diet plans, but shards of eggshell that fall into your drains can become trapped in P traps and pipe seams. Keto-friendly seeds and nuts can have a similar effect and may accumulate over time, creating blockages and reducing drainage rates.

What Should You Do If Keto-Friendly Foods Have Blocked Your Drains?

If you follow a keto diet, and your sinks, bathtubs or showers are draining slowly, solidified fats and other solid food debris may be accumulating inside your drains. It is important to act quickly — the longer you wait, the worse the blockages will become. Total blockages can cause water to back up into your home, causing extensive water damage and posing a serious health hazard.

Your first step should be to try and flush out solidified fats using boiling or near-boiling water. Hopefully, any accumulated fats will be melted by the heat, allowing them to drain away. However, if cold water has accumulated on top of a blockage, it will prevent heat from reaching the solidified fats. It also won't help remove any solid debris in your pipes.

You can also try using over-the-counter drain cleaning chemicals, or try to break up blockages manually using a drain snake or rod. Drain cleaners are made from harsh, caustic chemicals, so only use them if you know what you are doing, and follow instructions carefully. Drain snakes and rods are safe to use, but ineffective if the blockage is located too far down your drain line.

If these DIY measures don't work, it's time to call in the professionals. Residential plumbers that specialize in drain cleaning can quickly and thoroughly remove any fat blockages or solid debris that are stopping your drains from doing their job. They can also fit drain filters and other devices to prevent blockages from reoccurring and give you advice on how to properly dispose of unwanted fats and oils without clogging your drains.

For more information, contact a local business, like Sugar Plumbing.