Honey, the sink won't drain!

The sink in a sailboat galley is not like a regular house-type kitchen sink in that the galley sink drains directly overboard through a sea cock. What ever you pour down the sink will find its way down the drain and into direct contact with the water you are floating in. For this very reason, you need to be mindful of what you pour down the drain. Oil, plastics, and non-biodegradable soaps can never be rinsed down the drain as they will pollute the very waters you are floating in.

I was cooking spaghetti with meat sauce for Maddie, which is a normal occasion since we both love pasta dishes. The meat I was cooking is 80% lean meat, and 20% fat, yay! In the interest of avoiding coronary artery disease, I like to cook the fat out of the meat and remove it from the dish I am creating. By cooking the meat alone in a frying pan, the fat will melt out of the meat and begin to flow around as a runny liquid. 

Transporting the hot pan over the sink will facilitate the removal of this fat as it can easily be flushed down the drain! Once the fat has been removed, the sauce and other goodies can be added to the meat to create a pasta sensation!  

The fat that was removed from the meat was melted due to the heat of the pan. As it runs down the galley sink, it will begin to cool and solidify. Once it comes into contact with the cool water that we are floating in, it will quickly solidify in the drain, just like it would do inside your arteries!   Instead of developing a stroke or heart attack, this fat clog merely obstructs the hose from draining the contents of the sink. 

The problem won't materialize until you begin to do the dishes and the wash water will begin to back up. Since we are in port and have easy access to fresh water, I let the faucet run for longer than I would have if we were cruising. This wastefulness only compounds the problem, as  all of this extra water will begin to fill the sinks up and make it painfully apparent that the drain is clogged. 


Using a translucent drain hose is beneficial in moments like these as they will allow easy inspection of the drain. If you see large fatty deposits on the side of the hose, you know for certain that it is clogged. 


Now that you know hat the problem, it is time to fix it!  

Fixing a fat clogged drain is very easy, all you need to do is fill the sink with water to create pressure on the fat clog and then poke it with a probe. Upon provocation with a probe, the fat will move as the water column above it pushes through. You will actually hear a suction sound as the sink drains very rapidly, carrying the fatty deposits out of the drain with the rush of water. 


I use a soft leader wire with the end folded back to snake down the drain and into the fat clog. Folding the end over negates any risk of the wire getting hooked up on the internal structure of the drain or the risk of the wire perforating the wall the hose. 


Having a translucent hose makes it easy to see how your repair is progressing. Here you can see that the top part is somewhat filled with water while the bottom is full of fat. If you look closely, you can see the tip of the wire yet showing up between the ribbing at the top of the fat clog. Since I am in the right area, it is time to jiggle the wire up and down a bit to disturb the fat clog and get the water flowing through.


Just that easily, the fat will break open and the contents of the sink will drain out in record time. The clog is cleared and the sink will operate as normal once more! If you develop a fat clog in your drain, don't call a repair man, simply get a light duty wire and snake out the clog in the drain.