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Thanksgiving Plumbing Nightmares and how to Avoid Them

November 2, 2017

An old woman in a flooded kitchen with Thanksgiving dinner in the water.
It’s almost time for Thanksgiving, which is one of the busiest days for plumbers. Why is Thanksgiving, of all days, bad for your drains? Because there’s so much that can go wrong while preparing for the perfect dinner, and the potential problems don’t end after the meal is on the table. ‘Tis the season of clogged drains, toilets, and showers. If you’re planning a huge gathering this year, here are a few plumbing nightmares to look out for and how you can avoid them.

A Clogged Drain and Broken Garbage Disposal

When cooking a huge meal, you might be tempted to make it easier on yourself and throw unwanted veggie scraps, egg shells, or even some unneeded grease down the garbage disposal. However, many of the foods you might be preparing for your Thanksgiving feast actually shouldn’t go down the drain. Here are a few big do’s and don’ts to help you avoid a big plumbing problem that could make after-dinner dishes an even bigger chore:Vegetable and fruit scraps next to a garbage disposal

Don’t Treat Your Garbage Disposal Like a Garbage Can

Many foods should not be thrown in the garbage disposal, no matter how powerful your disposal is. Here are just a few foods you should never put down your garbage disposal:

  • Grease, Oils, or Fats
  • Bones
  • Stringy Vegetables
  • Potato Peels
  • Eggshells
  • Fruit and Vegetable Pits and Seeds
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Pasta and Rice

Stringy foods can get caught in the blades and cause the motor to break. Grease, coffee grounds, and carb-heavy foods can expand in your pipes and prevent water flow. By keeping these foods out of your sink, you can rest assured that your garbage disposal won’t break this season.

Run Water Down the Drain

Every time you run the garbage disposal, turn on the sink to wash down any food scraps after they’ve been broken down by the blades of your disposal. Also, if you find that you’ve accidentally put grease down the sink, run hot water down the drain to melt any grease and wash the oil further down your pipes and prevent future clogs.

Drain Slowing? Act Fast!

If you find that your drain is having a hard time draining, don’t wait to take action after it won’t drain at all. In fact, the earlier you notice a slowing drain, the easier time you’ll have getting it fixed. While you can use a plunger or other DIY methods to unclog your pipe, a plumber is sure to get the job done and do the job right.

A Puddle in the Shower That Never Goes Away

If you’re planning on having guests stay the night, make sure to wait 15-30 minutes between each shower, and not just to make sure each guest has hot water to use. Hair and soap from each person’s shower can build up and slow the drain, and if multiple people shower right in a row, a pile of hair and other nasty dirt and grime can build up in the pipe, causing a puddle of water in the bottom of your tub or shower that never goes away. What can you do to prevent this?

Water going down the drain in a tub or shower

Invest in a Hair Catcher

If you want to avoid a hair disaster in your shower, invest in something to catch the hair before it goes down your drain. No matter what kind of stopper your bath or shower has, there are a variety of devices you can choose from to stop hair from entering your pipes. Take a picture of your drain and bring it with you to find a hair catcher that works for your drain. Some hair catchers look like kitchen strainers, while others rest in the drain itself to catch the hair.

The Curse of the Never-Flushing Toilet

Whether it’s because of a relative or because the Thanksgiving dinner was just that good, you don’t want to be stuck with a clogged toilet after the feast. While there’s not much you can do if your water pressure isn’t that strong, there are a few things you can do to make a toilet mishap less likely to happen.

A person plunging a toilet

Don’t Throw Trash in the Toilet

The pipes for your toilet are not built to handle cotton balls, feminine products, or even flushable wipes. Keep a trash can in your bathroom that is easily accessible and obvious for your guests to use. You can also prevent a clogged toilet by using less toilet paper or flushing more than once if you’re worried about a clog.

Keep it Clean

A dirty toilet is more likely to get clogged than a clean one. The chemicals you use to clean your toilet can break down potential nasty buildup in your pipes and keep your toilet running smoother longer. Also, every once in a while, inspect each part of the toilet to make sure it’s running properly. If you find that something is worn out or looks like it’s about to break, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Final Tip: Don’t Wait to Fix Drain Problems

Noticing a slowing drain or a leak in your bathroom? Does your kitchen garbage disposal make a weird noise when you turn it on? Don’t wait until after the holidays to get it fixed. Even better, give us a call to drain your pipes and make sure everything is working before the house guests arrive so you don’t have a plumbing nightmare this Thanksgiving!