Plumbing for the Holidays

It is no secret that holidays are busy times for families, especially when they invite friends and family members to their homes for celebrations. The holidays are not only busy for people, but for the systems in their homes, especially their plumbing systems. You might not think about your home’s plumbing when you are prepping for a party, but the extra work that your garbage disposal, toilets, and sinks do, can exacerbate problems that you may not know exist.

Know Your Garbage Disposal

Preparing food for a large group can tax the garbage disposal. Instead of shoving every scrap of food into the garbage disposal, you can put the drain strainer into use. This way, you can catch bits of food before they hit the disposal to throw them into the garbage instead. If you do decide to allow scraps to go into the disposal, run the disposal along with cold water. Some plumbers advise letting the cold water run before turning on the disposal.

If you must put food scraps into the disposal, you should be aware of what should not go into the appliance. Avoid putting potato peels, chicken or turkey skin, artichokes, corn husks and cobs, and celery into the disposal. It is also important to avoid putting grease in the drain and disposal because it will stick to the sides of the pipes and clog the drain. Instead of dumping grease into the disposal, you can pour it into empty food containers or wipe it out of pans with paper towels. Used plastic, metal, paper, and glass belong in the trash, not in the disposal.

Clean Your Sink Properly

When it comes to cleaning the disposal and sink before and during holiday events, use a gentle cleaner, like Borax. Bleach and drain cleaners are too harsh for disposal parts and for the pipes. Since unpleasant odors from a heavily used disposal can crop up at anytime, you should keep a few lemons or oranges on hand. The peels of those citrus fruits can quickly calm the odors and give your kitchen a festive aroma.

What Not to Do in the Bathroom

Bathrooms also are overused when guests are visiting for the holidays. If you have overnight guests, you can offer friendly reminders in your guest bathroom by printing them on pretty cards and framing them near the sink, toilet, and tub or shower. Drains need a few minutes to finish their work, so showers should be taken with at least 10 minutes in between them. Toilets get a workout along with showers, so guests should be reminded not to flush diapers, wet wipes, cotton balls and swabs, cigarette butts, and feminine hygiene products. When you clean your toilet for your guests, you should avoid using bleach because it will damage the parts and seals in the toilet and it will damage the bacteria in your septic or mound system, too. Like the kitchen sink, toilets benefit from Borax, too.

Be Prepared for Small Emergencies

Since plumbing issues can happen at any time, it can be helpful to have useful plumbing tools on hand. The Zip-It is a useful and inexpensive plumbing device that will clean out clogged drains and sink traps. Hair is one of the most common reasons why drains become slow, so you can use the Zip-It to remove hair and get the drain flowing smoothly again. The Zip-It is a long, skinny plastic strip (like a long straw) with barbs on it. When you put the Zip-It down the drain, it will grab whatever is clogging the drain. A plunger is another useful tool to have around when guests are in the house. Many homeowners will leave a plunger in the guest bathroom for the moments when accidents and clogs occur. If you have to use a plunger to free a clog from a drain, it is useful to run the water first to get strong suction. Once you have freed the clog, the best preventative medicine is to run the hot water, then pour baking soda in the drain.

If you need any help with your plumbing over the holidays, contact Scott English Plumbing at 949-462-9773 or 714-987-9801 to schedule an appointment before the guests arrive.