Holiday Cheers and Clear Drains: Plumbing Tips for the Holidays

The holidays might be one of the best times to host gatherings for friends and family. The sweet, cheerful feelings that fill your home are often the highlight of your year. Unfortunately, untimely plumbing issues can cause the holiday festivities to come to an abrupt stop. Your guests might feel a little put out when the toilet begins overflowing, or a holiday dinner might be late if you’re having issues with your drains backing up. To best prepare your home before these special events take place, you’ll need to keep some things in mind. If you want holiday cheers and clear drains, here are some plumbing tips for the holidays from the pros at Moore Home Services. Key Takeaways:
  • Simple plumbing tips around the busy holidays can save you from unseemly clogs and expensive emergency plumbing repairs.
  • Follow these tips all year round to keep your drains running clear.

9 Holiday Plumbing Tips You Need To Know

Your plumbing system is more delicate than you think, especially when it is working overtime. The influx of people using and running your plumbing system might cause some additional stress on its components. But if you prepare yourself and your guests, these potentially frustrating issues might be avoided completely.

Don’t Put Leftovers Down Your Drain

One of the largest culprits of a clogged drain is having waste, such as leftover food, put into them. Disposing of your holiday leftovers by simply tossing them down your sink drain can wreak havoc on your plumbing system, especially if you don’t have a garbage disposal. To avoid this pesky issue, you can use a sink strainer. These are typically very cheap and will help stop unwanted food and debris from your kitchen sink drains. Make sure that the strainer is in place in your sink, rinse your dishes, and once you’re finished you can remove the strainer, with all the food that has been caught, and empty it into your trash bin. This is a quick and easy way to prevent a drain catastrophe.

Know What Materials Go in the Garbage Disposal

In addition to stopping leftovers from entering your drain system, you’ll also want to be sure you’re not putting any hazardous materials into your garbage disposal. Some kinds of food and debris can create clogs and cause damage to your disposal.  
    The following items should not enter your garbage disposal:
  • Grease, animal fats, and cooking oils
  • Bread-based products that expand when they absorb water, rice, or pasta
  • Eggshells
  • Animals bones
  • Durable vegetables
  • Stringy foods and vegetables
  • Non-food items like plastic, paper, or metal

Wait Between Showers

When your shower system is used more frequently, there is a much higher chance that your hot water will run out. If you’re hosting guests overnight, this can cause quite a problem when they go to take a nice, hot shower in the morning. Frequent showers not only cause your hot water to run out faster, but they can increase the likelihood of a clog from extra hair and soap going into the drain. Waiting 10 to 15 minutes in between showers can provide your hot water system a chance to reheat and also allow your drains to clear out before the next one begins. If you’re concerned about a clog forming in your drains, you can try using a strainer over your drain to stop any extra hair from going down the drains.

Don’t Flush Certain Items

Of course, during any holiday gathering, the toilets will be working a lot more than usual. And if your toilet forms a clog during the party, you might have to stop the festivities to attend to the emergency. While you may know that flushing certain items down your toilet is forbidden, some of your guests might not follow the same rules in their homes.
    To avoid a toilet clog, it’s essential that your guests know not to flush the following items:
  • Paper towels
  • Baby wipes or flushable wipes
  • Cigarette butts
  • Feminine hygiene products such as sanitary napkins or tampons
  • Cotton swabs, balls, or pads
Avoiding flushing these items can potentially save you from a costly plumbing service.

Get Rid of Grease Correctly

When you think of holiday parties, you might instantly think of the amazing homemade meals that accompanies them. But these home-cooked meals come with a lot of potential problems for your plumbing system, and the main one is grease. When preparing the meal, grease appears to be a hot liquid. But once that hot liquid comes into contact with cold water or cools down, it will quickly congeal. If that happens in your drain, you could be looking at a solid and stubborn clog. This clog will allow other debris and food to build up inside the drain, until eventually you have to call in a plumber. To avoid a grease clog in your kitchen drain, you can pour the liquid grease into a plastic bag to throw into your trashcan or pour the grease into a temperature-safe bowl to solidify, then you can then dispose of in the garbage.

Hold Off on Using the Dishwasher

You’ve just finished your holiday dinner and are looking forward to getting things cleaned up so you can have a relaxing evening. But if you’re considering running the dishwasher and hand-washing other dishes, you might want to think twice.
  Typically, your garbage disposal shares the same drain as your sink. So, if you’re running your dishwater and using your sink water simultaneously, it might create double the work for you. Running your garbage disposal or using your kitchen sink water while your dishwashing is going can potentially push the dirty water back into your dishwasher’s cycle, your dishes may not be as clean as they should be. If your drains have a clog present, it can even cause the water in your kitchen to back and create a very wet, flooded holiday.

The Kitchen Is Off Limits Unless You’re the Cook

As we’re sure you know, there are a lot of things happening in the kitchen when you’re preparing a holiday meal. While your family and friends might be happy to help you get the meal completed, there is a higher chance of accidents that can take place. Someone might put materials or food down your drain thinking you have a garbage disposal when you don’t, which increases the risk of a clog. Or someone might accidentally pour grease down your drains. Keeping your kitchen free from all guests can help ensure that accidents don’t put a damper on the holiday.

Get Your Drains Prepped

Before you send out your RSVPs to your holiday party, you’ll want to prep your drains to ensure that they stay problem free throughout the festivities. One trick that you can use to do this is to pour strong salt water into your sink drains. This will help prevent grease buildup in your drains. It also eliminates any intense odors that might be coming from your drains.

Purchase a Drain Snake

If you’re planning on hosting holidays at your home, it is likely that your sinks, toilets, and showers will be working overtime. If you’re anticipating many guests being present in your home, it’s best to prepare ahead of time. Purchasing a drain snake, which is a tool that can dislodge small clogs from your drain, might help prolong the time that you need to call in a plumber for a speedy plumbing repair. But, keep in mind that drain snakes can also cause additional damage if they break in the drain.

When to Have a Professional Plumbing Repair

A professional plumbing repair can make a huge difference in the way that your holiday season goes. If you’re noticing that your toilet, shower, or sink continues to clog or is backing up frequently, you might want to call in a professional to take a look. While you might think that this is a small problem that can be fixed on your own, it might be a much deeper issue.
  Large clogs might not be fixed with DIY remedies. If you’re noticing signs of a broken pipe or sewer line, you’ll need a pro on the job quickly. Some signs of a broken pipe include:
  • Dirty or discolored water
  • Bad odor with your water
  • Leaks under sinks or pooling water
  • Damp walls or floor
  • Lower water pressure
  • Higher than normal water bill
Because of the complexity of repairing broken pipes, it’s best to have a licensed plumber for this particular plumbing service. They have the expertise in locating the problem and fixing it quickly so that you can get back to enjoying the holidays.

Next Steps to Keeping Your Plumbing Working All Holiday Season

There are a couple of preventive measures you can take before the holidays begin. Calling a professional for a quick assessment of your plumbing system can help ensure that it works throughout the holiday season. They will be able to recommend any kind of plumbing repair that can help keep your plumbing functioning great. At Moore Home Services, our licensed plumbers have all the tools and knowledge to get your plumbing system running great. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment!