August 09, 2013 04:46 ET

One in Four Brits Flush Items That Create "Fatbergs"

WALSALL, ENGLAND--(Marketwired - Aug. 9, 2013) - Following on from this week's news of a "fatberg" threatening to turn Kingston-upon-Thames into a cesspit, figures from HomeServe reveal just how common flushing fat and other items down the plughole actually is.

Seven in 10 adults (69%) admit that they have put ill-advised items down their sinks and toilets.

A quarter (23%) have flushed wet wipes and a fifth (19%) cooking oil - the combination of which led to the Kingston fatberg.

Wet wipes do not break down easily, which means they can snag on pipes. Fat can then congeal and build up rapidly, causing dramatic obstructions like those seen this week.

According to the research, Yorkshire and Humberside could be the next fatberg hotspot, with inhabitants the most prolific flushers of fat (25%) and wet wipes (30%).

Other items that refuse to break down when flushed away include condoms (flushed away by 12% of homeowners) and women's sanitary products (16%).

As well as the risk of blocking sewers, the habit of flushing items down the plughole can also cause problems for domestic drains.

Six in 10 (60%) homeowners has suffered a blocked drain in the last five years, a quarter of which (24%) required professional help to resolve.

And it's not just wet wipes and fat going down the drain. More colourful items include mobile phones and iPods (5%), children's toys (3%) - and even pet fish (10%).

HomeServe Memberships CEO Jonathan King said: "Flushing unsavoury items down the toilet or kitchen sink may be a case of out of sight out of mind, but they can come back to haunt you in a very unpleasant way.

"Although major fatbergs like this week's in London are thankfully rare, blocked drains are not. We'd urge all homeowners to think before they flush and avoid putting anything down the plughole that won't break down in water."

Notes to editors:

All research conducted online by Canadean Consumer on behalf of HomeServe, July 2013 among a representative sample of 2,000 UK adults.

About HomeServe

HomeServe was established in 1993, with the aim of being the first place people turn to for home emergencies and repairs. With over 1,700 directly employed and sub-contracted engineers, HomeServe is a national home emergency repair company backed by a 24 hour claims handling team.

HomeServe offers insurance cover for plumbing, drains, electrical wiring and gas central heating. Our product range also includes locksmith servicing and boiler servicing.

HomeServe works with many major utility companies, boiler manufacturers and other companies that have an affinity with our products.

HomeServe also has a strong international presence with 4.9m customers across the UK, US, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

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