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6 Thanksgiving Plumbing Tips

Did you know that the day after Thanksgiving is the single busiest day in a plumbers life? Yep, we receive more calls on Black Friday than any other day of the year. Why? Because people torture their plumbing on turkey day. They don’t do so on purpose, but in the business of preparing for the big day, family members coming to town, and general hecticness around the house, the plumbing system seems to go at the absolute wrong time. We don’t want this to happen to you! That’s why we’ve compiled a list of Thanksgiving plumbing tips.

A Garbage Disposal Is Not A Trash Can

Garbage disposals are, in the opinion of the Thanksgiving Day chefs around here, one of the single greatest inventions of the modern world. Now, whether you believe this or not chances are that if you own and frequently use the garbage disposal in your kitchen. The question is: do you put the wrong things in the disposal?

Keep in mind that your disposal is not a trash can. Tiny ninjas do not live underneath the rubber flaps slicing and dicing everything that comes into view. Think of your disposal more as an oversized cheese grater; if your cheese grater would have a hard time with a certain food, that is your cue that the garbage disposal may also have a difficult go at it. Really, your garbage disposal is for the small chunks that get stuck to the plate after the meal is over. It’s not for pulverizing whole celery stalks or potato skins.

Don’t Do This:

  1. Don’t dump grease down the drain. It solidifies in your drain and can stick to the side creating a clog. This is true even if you run hot water down after as the water and therefore, grease, will cool before it reaches the main sewer line. So basically you’re just creating a blockage further down the pipeline.
  2. Do not force large amounts of food down disposal all at once. If you have a sinkful of food remnants, scoop them up and throw them in the trash. Your wallet will thank you later.
  3. Do not put celery, onion peels, lettuce, potato skins, or other fibrous foods in the disposal. These are difficult for the disposal to handle.
  4. Do not put pasta, rice, or coffee in your garbage disposal, either. The starchy properties of rice and pasta cause these foods to stick to themselves, increasing your risk for a clog. The same goes for coffee which has a surprisingly high rate of clogging drains.
  5. Don’t put bones down the disposal. Save your disposal, your pipes, and your ears by avoiding this one. It’s highly unlikely that the disposal will even grind up the entire bone; just take a few minutes and scrape plates into the trash before plopping them in the sink.

Do this:

  1. Always keep the water on while the disposal is going.
  2. Always run cold water when you turn on your garbage disposal. This one seems backward since you use hot water to wash the dishes, but cool water causes the food particles to solidify, which allows them to pass through the garbage disposal much easier.
  3. Run cool water for 60 seconds after all the food seems to be gone. This flushes out the grease left in the disposal.
  4. Do clean your disposal. You can do this by pouring a small amount of dish soap down the drain and following it with some cold water. You can also use the garbage disposal tablets sold in many kitchen aisles. You can even use a few slices of a lemon peel for a fresh scent!

If you want to sharpen your disposal blades, throw some ice cubes down the drain once in a while.

Don’t Run The Dishwasher

If your garbage disposal happens to go out, do not run the dishwasher. In most cases, the dishwasher and garbage disposal share the same drain. Therefore, if the garbage disposal is clogged, you should assume that the dishwasher is likely clogged. If you run it anyway, you could risk a flood and an incredibly messy problem.

Sink Strainer to the Rescue

We know that the whole purpose of the garbage disposal is to have the convenience of sending food down it. But, if you’re working heavily with items on the “don’t” list, simply invest in a sink strainer. The strainer makes it easy to clean your fibrous and starchy foods out of the sink, while also saving you the headache of a mid-Thanksgiving plumbing problem.

To Flush or Not to Flush

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, chances are more people will be visiting your restroom more than usual. Remind guests to flush only toilet paper, especially if you have a septic system. For a more tactful approach, consider putting up a friendly reminder or sign.

Avoid Flushing:

  1. Sanitary napkins/feminine products
  2. Flushable wipes
  3. Cleaning wipes
  4. Facial Cleansing Pads
  5. Cotton Balls & Swabs
  6. Paper towels

Give Your Pipes A Chance

For those hosting guests overnight, wait at least 20 minutes between each shower. This not only gives the hot water heater a chance to replenish, but it also gives your drains a chance to clear.

Call A Plumber Beforehand

If you’re having slight issues with your plumbing before November, the Holidays will only exacerbate the issue. Call for an appointment with a plumber before the problem gets out of hand. You’ll be glad to fix a minor issue before the Turkey hits the table. Our team is standing by ready to help you out if there is an emergency. We know you’d rather be spending time around the table than under the sink. Keep our number on hand just in case something goes wrong. We’ll be there for you in a flash, so you can keep on cooking.

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