How to Avoid Plumbing Emergencies During the Holidays

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Picture this. A house full of family and friends, a beautiful moist turkey in the oven, laughter and joy heard all around, water seeping from the bathroom door into the kitchen…record scratch! It all sounded lovely until the part about the toilet overflowing. With families coming from near and far to homes in Denver and elsewhere, that means more bodies using the toilets, sinks, bathtubs, showers, etc. and taxing the plumbing more than usual. We see a spike in plumbing calls around the holidays. With homes full of families celebrating the holidays, the plumbing naturally is used more frequently. Cooking in the kitchen leads to drain stoppages and garbage disposal malfunction. Lots of toilet flushes can lead to mainline issues and toilet clogs and overflows. We at Drain Terrier put together some tips to help you avoid a plumbing emergency during the holidays. Check out this post to learn tips from keeping your kitchen sink fresh to keeping your bathrooms fully functioning.

Toilet Paper: Make sure to buy a thinner brand of toilet paper. It might be slightly less comfortable but brands that are less thick and plush go down much easier. For example, Scott toilet paper tends to cause a lot less issues with clogging the toilet and hanging up in pipes. It dissolves easier and goes down the drain better than thicker more plush brands like Charmin. While you want to treat your family and friends to luxury, make extra sure to stay away from ultra soft or extra strong brands of toilet paper. They can cause blockages and back ups in your bathrooms! And, definitely never ever put anything like paper towels or sanitary napkins down the toilet.

Garbage Disposal: We get lots of questions around what and what not to put down the garbage disposal. The short answer is, don’t put anything down the garbage disposal that is stringy (celery for example) or tough to cut with a knife. Avoid things like peanut shells, egg shells, sunflower seeds, potato peels, fruit and vegetable skins, bones, and cores, pits and seeds. Also, never pack the garbage disposal. It’s best to toss these tougher food items in the trash, or even better, in the compost. Always put softer food items down slowly and gradually. And, don’t jam or cram things down the drain or fill the drain before turning on the disposal. It’s also useful to run cold water while you’re depositing food into the disposal and keeping the disposal running until it is fully empty.

Before turning on the disposal, take extra care to make sure there are no dishes or silverware in the drain. These items can damage the blades and cause garbage disposals to malfunction.

To keep the disposal smelling fresh and the blades clean, you can slowly put a few orange peels or lemon peels and ice cubes down the drain while the disposal is running.

One last tip for the garbage disposal. There are misconceptions around putting grease down the drain. You can pour hot grease down the drain if necessary, but make sure to run hot water before, during and after the grease has been deposited. Check out the Drain Terrier YouTube video below for garbage disposal tips in action from our Boston Terrier, Huxley.

Cold Weather: The end of year holidays coincide with cold weather. We’ve written out tips to keep your pipes safe during the winter freezes. Read our related post, “How to Avoid Broken Pipes, Winterize Your Plumbing for the Next Denver Area Storm” to learn tips to protect your sprinkler systems and hose bibs from freezing, leaking, and causing flooding during the next winter storm.

Protect Your Plumbing in Denver

Shower and Bathtub Drains: While it’s not the most pleasant task, cleaning the drain between showers can help keep the drains clear and flowing. It’s also a good idea to use screens on the drains so hair and other debris don’t cause clogs.Go grab a pair of colorful gloves and clean those drains, you’ll be glad you did!

Preventative Maintenance: Getting your mainline and/or kitchen sink drain cleaned out with a sewer snake before guests arrive can help prevent clogs and hangups in your line. We also offer 12-point home inspections where we help maintain plumbing items in your home. Tightening up faucets, checking trap work, water heaters, drains, toilets, and valves can ensure everything is in great shape and ready to be used by a house full of visitors. Our post “12-point Inspection: A Preventative Plumbing Check-up for Your Home or Business” outlines the recommended items that should be inspected for ideal preventative maintenance.

We hope you got valuable information and useful tips out of this post to keep your plumbing and drains safe this holiday season. Wishing you and your family, friends and four legged creatures a very happy holidays from Drain Terrier. We’re always here when you need us! Contact us at 720-999-6120. We are available 24/7.

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Drain Terrier provides plumbing and drain cleaning services to all of the greater Denver metro area, from Highlands Ranch to Boulder.

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