It may be surprising to know that the busiest profession the day after Thanksgiving is not the retail clerk, but the plumber! On the day after Thanksgiving, plumbing companies see a 47 to 50 percent increase in emergency calls. Fortunately, it’s not why you may think, but is usually kitchen sink related. Here are a few tips to keep you from placing one of those calls.
Take Care of Your Garbage Disposal
On Thanksgiving Thursday, many kitchens are used to prepare the largest meal of the year. When people rely on the garbage disposal and push food inside, the disposal can often not keep up. When disposals are full or overwhelmed, they cause a backup of water into the sink and the dishwasher. With all those dishes to wash, who has time for that! To prevent your garbage disposal from entering a turkey-induced coma, limit what you push into the disposal. Make use of your drain strainer while preparing food, which will help trap any large pieces of food. Also, make sure everyone knows to scrape their plates into the trash can before the put their dirty dishes in the sink.
Don’t wait until the disposal is full to run it. If you notice food go down the drain or you intentionally put something down it, run cold water and turn on the disposal. Wait until the disposal sounds clear before shutting it off. Avoid putting stringy, fibrous, or starchy waste into the disposal at all. Throw turkey skin, celery, and potato skins into the garbage can, not down the disposal.
Beware of The Turkey Grease
You should always avoid pouring fats or oils down drains. The grease sticks to pipe walls, creating a blockage. Even when poured down a drain and flushed with hot water, turkey fat can solidify and block the drains. Avoid this all together and throw the drippings away. You can pour them into a can or jar into the trash can.
If grease or fat does make it into the drains on accident, try using cold water instead of hot water so that they grease solidifies and you can flush it through the pipes rather than letting it settle and stick the pipes.
Do Not Use Your Toilet as a Garbage Disposal
A lot of post-Thanksgiving, toilet-related plumber calls are not caused by an increase in family members using the toilet as intended, but that the wrong things are put into the toilet. Homes that do not have garbage disposals may be tempted into flushing foods and greases down the toilet, do NOT do this. The toilet is not meant for solids and can quickly become clogged. A small toilet blockage can escalate with normal use, into a very big problem.
Don’t flush baby wipes, cotton balls, feminine hygiene products, or hair down the toilet. They do not dissolve and can cause backups. It is completely acceptable to put a note to family in the bathroom letting them know this. Afterall, they benefit if the toilet doesn’t back up too! Remind your guests to respect your home.
Prepare for Increased Drain Usage
If you have guests staying overnight, make sure they wait 15 minutes between showers to allow your drains to adjust to the increased use and water is completely flushed through pipes before another person uses it.
Plumbers are called to homes the day following Thanksgiving because of homes full of careless guests who don’t pay attention to where their food goes. On the biggest eating day of the year, remember your drainage system and the importance of it functioning properly. An average plumber bill is between $90 and $300, but Thanksgiving related clogs are completely avoidable. Always use the trashcan to dispose of food and remind guests to do the same; avoid Brown Friday this year.