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7 Thanksgiving Plumbing Tips

Did you know that that Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for residential plumbers? It's easy to see why: Thanksgiving means that many families are experiencing bustling activities in their kitchens and visiting guests usually means there's a greater demand on bathrooms as well.

Here are some helpful tips that homeowners should follow during the Thanksgiving holiday festivities.

Thanksgiving dinner table

1. Make Sure Your Home Is Ready

Unless a plumbing issue is urgent, most homeowners tend to put off calling a professional and forget about these issues until busy weekends like Thanksgiving, where they can develop into something serious and ruin a family gathering.

If possible, have a preventative maintenance service scheduled and have any repairs done to your sinks, toilet, shower and water heater that you may have been putting off.

2. Reduce Kitchen Traffic

Believe it or not, many of the plumbing calls that occur on or just after Thanksgiving have to do with foreign objects getting stuck in drains. Jewelry. Watches. Toys. Silverware. Broken glass. The list goes on.

One way to avoid these types of issues is to reduce traffic in your kitchen. It's normal for friends and family to want to help out in the kitchen or gather for conversations or drinks but encouraging guests to use other spaces for socializing can help reduce distractions and accidents.

3. Properly Dispose of Grease

Cooking results in grease and grease can spell trouble for your plumbing. While it's hot, grease seem like another harmless liquid to pour down the drain. But as grease cools, it congeals (becomes solid) and can cause blockages in your pipes.

So make sure you dispose of grease the proper way following your Thanksgiving cooking: pour it into an extra mason jar or plastic bag and toss it in the garbage when you're done.

4. Don't Treat Your Garbage Disposal like a Garbage Bag

Preparing a large meal means juggling a bunch of different responsibilities in the kitchen and that often means we look for places to cut corners. Too often, that means using our garbage disposal as a catch-all for food waste.

Yet there are a number of food products that can cause plumbing issues:

  • Celery (and other fibrous foods)
  • Potato peels
  • Eggshells
  • Bones
  • Coffee grounds
  • Pasta or noodles
  • Fruit pits

5. Wait to Use Your Dishwasher

Your dishwasher and garbage disposal share the same drain, so it's important to keep this in mind before running your next load of Thanksgiving dishes and silverware. Running your garbage disposal while your dishwasher is running can mean food waste can end up in your wash cycle.

It's also important to realize that if you are experiencing a garbage disposal issue – like a blockage – it's important not to run your dishwasher. Doing so can create flooding.

6. Keep Wet Wipes Out of the Toilet

If you provide wet wipes for your guests in the bathroom, make sure that they know that they should be thrown away – not flushed. Toilet paper is specifically designed to dissolve in water so that it is unlikely to cause a clog. Other items ... are not.

A few other things that shouldn't be flushed:

  • Cotton balls
  • Q-tips
  • Napkins or facial tissue (Kleenex)
  • Feminine products
  • Paper towels
  • Facial cleansing/makeup remover wipes

7. Cut Down on Shower Time

If you're having guests that stay over Thanksgiving weekend, try to be mindful of who is showering when and for how long. Few things tax water pressure and plumbing in your house, so if there are multiple showers occurring at once – or showers occurring while your're trying to do other water-dependent tasks like dishwashing – it could mean a shortage of hot water.