How Will Your Plumbing Hold Up to Holiday Guests?

3 Tips for preparing and surviving the holidays without experiencing any plumbing emergencies

The holiday season is officially in full swing. You have enjoyed your turkey dinner, watched the big game, and indulged in some holiday shopping. Now you are preparing, maybe for the second time in a couple months to host a house full of people for a party, dinner, or family vacation. Having people visit is fun, often stressful, and makes the holidays memorable. 1st Home and Commercial Services encourages you to read these plumbing tips before your guests arrive, so that a plumbing disaster is not the reason the holiday season becomes memorable and talked about for years to come.

Incorrect disposal of cooking grease and food waste, overuse of the garbage disposal, and improper or excessive flushing of waste down the toilet can result in clogged drains and are some of the most reported causes of emergency calls to your friendly, local plumber during the holidays.

A blocked pipe or drain can cause water to back up into the house or worse yet, raw sewage to spill out into your house. Yuck! No one wants to deal with that in the middle of a visit from family or friends.

Here are three tips to help you keep everything flowing this holiday season.

1. Keep oil and grease away from your kitchen sink.

If you are planning to do a lot of cooking this holiday season, plan ahead for the disposal of excess oils and grease. Set aside an opened green bean can or something similar to pour grease and fat drippings into, then throw the cooled liquid into the trash. Never pour grease and oil down the sink. Even a little bit can cause big problems with your plumbing. If you are planning to have large amounts of left over oil or grease, check with your local recycling center to see if they offer a drop off location for safe disposal.

2. Eh, What’s Up Doc?

Carrot peels, potato peels, banana peels, celery stalks, and poultry skin, or anything like these items should go directly into the trash can. Putting heavier food items down the garbage disposal can quickly result in a big mess. Been there done that. I no longer allow any potato peels down my garbage disposal. I can remember watching with dread as the water continued to fill the sink and almost overflowed into the kitchen. Thankfully, the sink did not overflow, but it took a lot of work to get the garbage disposal unjammed and working again. So, take my word for it and be careful what does down the drain and disposal. A strainer or drain basket is helpful for collecting food scrapes as they are rinsed from plates and utensils. Turn on the disposal before adding food waste into the system and run cold water down the drain for 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposal to help move scraps down the main line. You may want to consider collecting fruit and vegetable scraps for composting.

3. Please Don’t Flush That

When guests arrive you may want to take a moment and remind them of what should and should not go down the toilet. Especially if you have little kids visiting and if your plumbing is older. Paper towels, sanitary products, diapers, and wet wipes (even the flushable kind) should always go in the trash. Provide guests with a trash can in each bathroom and make sure to empty it frequently to help with this.

Even if you follow all these tips holiday, plumbing emergencies can and do happen. Sewer lines can become clogged over time from debris, grease buildup and sometimes things like growth of tree roots. It is a good idea to have routine maintenance done on your sewer line and home plumbing to ensure that everything continues to run smoothly. Don’t wait for a guest to yell, “someone, come quick” during the holidays. Give 1st Home and Commercial Services a call today and we will come out and do a check of your plumbing before guests arrive. With a bit of kitchen prep smarts and some preventive maintenance you can potentially save thousands in repair costs and avoid becoming the next embarrassing holiday gathering story.