The holiday season has arrived! That means family, parties, food, gifts, and plumbing emergencies! During holiday seasons, emergency calls to plumbers rise dramatically. This may be due to the increase in house guests overwhelming or improperly using your home’s plumbing system. Here are a few tips from our emergency plumbers on how to avoid giving them a call this year.
# 1 Proper Toilet Use
Most holiday plumber calls are because the wrong things are flushed down the toilet. The toilet is not meant for solids such as food or hair and can quickly become clogged if these things are flushed. normal use can compound clogs into a very big backup. You and your guests should never flush baby wipes, bleach cleaning wipes, feminine hygiene products, hair, cotton, or paper towel down the toilet. Make sure there is a trash can in the bathroom to help prevent people from flushing these items down your toilet and creating difficult blocks. Leave a plunger next to your toilets to help guests correct their clogs rather than attempting to flush them down.
#2 Correct Garbage Disposal
During the holidays, most kitchens prepare the biggest family meal of the year. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, huge meals are shared with friends and family, which means plenty of grease and plate scraps. When people rely on the garbage disposal to take care of trimmings while cooking or plate scrapings after eating, the disposal may find it difficult to keep up. It is important to remember that your disposal is not meant to compost garbage but to keep plate scraps from clogging up your water pipes. When garbage disposals are full or too overwhelmed, the water and its contents will back-up into the sink and dishwasher. To prevent your garbage disposal from breaking down, limit what is pushed into it. Make sure a drain strainer is securely in place while preparing food, which will help trap any large chunks of food. Make sure everyone uses the trash can for plate scrapings. If you notice food accidentally slip by, run cold water and turn on the disposal immediately so food doesn’t sit.
Never pour fats or oils down drains, sinks, toilets, or into the garbage disposal. These products will stick to pipe walls, creating sticky blockages that are difficult to remove. When poured down a drain and immediately followed with hot water, animal fat quickly solidifies and creates big problems. Always throw drippings into the trash after sealing it in a jar or can. If grease or fat does make it into your pipes, use cold water to flush it through rather than letting it settle and stick the pipes.
#3 Prepare for Additional Plumbing Use
When friends and family stop by for a visit, it can stress your home’s plumbing system with the extra usage. You and your loved ones can mentally prepare yourselves for the intrusion, your home cannot. If your guests are staying long enough to shower, instruct them to wait at least 15 minutes between each to allow water to completely drain. Avoid stressing your hot water heater by allowing only one person at a time to run the water. You may need to temporarily turn your water heater up to prevent the additional usage from overwhelming it. Remember to drop the temperature once your house returns to its normal operations to avoid scalding and increased energy bills.
Follow these helpful tips all year round to prevent plumbing emergencies, but especially during the increased flow of guests using your plumbing system. Even the best prevention can still result in unexpected plumbing issues. If this happens, trust the plumbing experts at Acadian Plumbing of New Orleans.