Fat balls, what are they?

Fat balls

Fat balls sound revolting, but what are they?

Of an evening when you cook your family meal often if you’re cooking meat, you’ll have some fat leak from the meat into the cooking pan. In short, pouring this down the sink drain causes fat balls.

We had a recent issue at an apartment block where a drain would block and then unblock and so on. We had companies look at this over a number of weeks causing problems for the apartment concerned. (Remember in an apartment block a single drain pipe normally rises up through the building servicing each apartment as it rises through it. If you had a 20-storey building there could be 20 apartments linked to one drain pipe).

In the end, the problem was found as we had to have a camera survey completed of the drain pipe. In the pipe was a tennis ball size lump of fat rolling around. As more fat was poured down the drain it adhered to the ball and the ball became larger. Bits would then break off and the problem subsided for a few days until the ball grew again!

Now imagine this problem in the main drain system. The BBC had an article on their website last week which has footage of a 250-meter long fatberg!


What makes the problem worse is that people also put other things down the toilet which shouldn’t go down there. These then merge into the fat balls (it’s all quite gross). Never put the following down the toilet:

Cooking fat
Fuel of any sort
Food scraps (unless through a shredder)
Cotton wool balls
Cotton wool ear buds

Face wipes

Baby wipes

Feminine products

Dental floss


Wipes of any sort

Back to apartment buildings. Putting these types of things down the toilets will cause blockages and we deal with around one per month currently. The average call out charge is around £100 to £200 for an internal drain mounting up into possibly thousands if the whole drain system at a large site becomes blocked. Also, you could have sewage backup into your apartment if the system blocks. Think of yourself, the service charge you pay and your neighbours and be a careful toilet user.