The Christmas holiday is a time for families to come together and enjoy good company and good food. Unfortunately, an untimely clogged drain or toilet can quickly undermine the good spirits and bring the festivities screeching to a halt. By keeping a few important plumbing tips in mind, however, you can ensure that your Christmas holiday will be remembered for the tasty turkey legs than the plungers.
1. Prepare Your Drains
Hosting a Holiday celebration can put a lot of pressure on your household plumbing. Your kitchen and bathroom are likely going to get far more use than normal, so minor problems and clogs that you tolerate the rest of the year can quickly become a serious issue when visitors arrive. By scheduling an appointment with Roto-Rooter for a free estimate and home inspection of your drains, you can get a quote for fixing the minor inconveniences before they become big problems. Remember, it’s easier to prevent plumbing problems than it is to deal with them as you are hosting.
2. Leftovers in the Trash – Not the Drain!
When it’s time to clean up or the meal is over, resist the urge to simply scrape the leftovers off your dishes and into your sink. There are a lot of foods that should never go down your disposal because they will cause issues for not just your garbage disposal but plumbing and pipes. More importantly, if you don’t have a disposal you definitely want to be more careful about what goes down your drains.
The easiest way to prevent unwanted chunks of leftovers from going down the drain is to use a simple, inexpensive sink strainer. Once you’re done washing off your dishes, you can simply dump the collected waste in the garbage or compost. A simple, preventative solution like a sink strainer can save you the headache of a larger problem.
3. Know What Can Go in the Disposal
Homeowners sometimes treat their garbage disposal unit as a magical, food-destroying device that can eliminate any kind of waste. Unfortunately, there are many materials that can cause serious damage to the unit and/or clog your drains. Here are some foods to avoid putting down the drain:
- Cooking oils and grease – we cannot stress this enough!
- Fibrous or stringy foods (such as celery or other tough vegetables)
- Rice, pasta, or bread-based products that can expand when exposed to moisture
- Egg shells
- Animal bones and fat
- Paper, metal, or plastic materials (this should be obvious, but accidents happen)
4. Dispose of Grease Properly
Grease is one of the largest threats to your plumbing. When you’re serving a multi-course, homemade meal, the danger is even greater. When hot, grease seems like any other liquid, but it quickly congeals when it cools or comes into contact with cold water. Hot grease poured into your drains will solidify causing a restricted flow and also leads to other materials catching and getting stuck until it hardens into a major clog. Rather than disposing of grease down the drain, pour it into a can, plastic bag or other container so it can be tossed into the garbage.
5. Wait 10-15 Minutes Between Showers
If you find yourself hosting guests overnight during the holidays, the last thing you want to deal with is an ice-cold shower in the morning or at night! Spacing out the time between showers to about 10-15 minutes not only allows your hot water heater to replenish the hot water supply, but it also gives your drains an opportunity to clear out. Each additional person showering means more hair that could potentially end up in your drains – gross! A typical shower drain can handle a bit of hair, but a few extra showers could quickly create a backup. Again, using a shower strainer over the drain can be very helpful when it comes to keeping your drains clear of potential clogs.
6. Toilets Are For Waste and Toilet Paper
When you’re hosting guests for Christmas, your toilets are probably going to have to work a bit harder than usual. Unfortunately, not everyone may be as considerate of your plumbing as you are! Make sure your guests know not to flush bathroom items that commonly clog household toilets:
- Sanitary napkins
- Paper towels
- Feminine hygiene products
- Cleansing wipes
- Facial pads
- Cotton balls and swabs
- Any other item not toilet paper or waste
7. Wait to Use the Dishwasher
When you’re cleaning up after the holiday dinner, it can be tempting to run a dishwasher cycle while you continue to clean other dishes and the kitchen. Unfortunately, you might be creating more work for yourself by doing so. The dishwasher and the garbage disposal typically share the same drain, so running the disposal or pouring anything into the sink can wind up pushing that waste back up into the dishwasher’s cleaning cycle. Even worse, if your drains become clogged, running the dishwasher could cause the water to back up and flood your kitchen.
It is also recommended to keep as much food waste out of your dishwasher as possible. The dishwasher drains excess water through a tube/pipe into your kitchen sink drain. It is possible for this pipe to get backed up with food waste and cause your dishwasher to flood. Always rinse your dishes before adding into the dishwasher for a cleaning cycle.
8. Only Cooks in the Kitchen
Keeping kitchen traffic to a minimum not only makes it easier for you to prepare food and clean up afterward, but also helps you to avoid costly plumbing “accidents.” Maybe your guest dumps a plate of food into your sink, not realizing you don’t have a garbage disposal. Or perhaps your cousin loses a bracelet down the drain, or one of the kids doesn’t know that a grease-filled pan shouldn’t go into the dishwasher. Taking a few steps to control your kitchen environment can help ensure that this Christmas won’t be remembered as the one where the sink was clogged.
Need a Hand?
At Roto-Rooter, we know you’d rather be focused on making your holiday a gathering to remember rather than spent dealing with plumbing issues. We also realize that sometimes things go wrong. That’s why we’re standing by to handle your plumbing emergencies so you can get back to enjoying the holiday with your family. If you encounter a problem that’s too much to manage on your own, our team of experienced professionals is ready to help 24/7 -365! Roto-Rooter is open on all holidays. So if you run into problems, we can be there to help get your holiday back on track.