Tips to Avoid Plumbing Disasters This Holiday Season
The holidays are a wonderful time of year. Family and friends gather together to celebrate, exchange gifts, and enjoy delicious food. But if your plumbing isn't up to the task of handling all the extra usage, you could end up with a disaster on your hands. Here are some tips to help you avoid common plumbing problems this holiday season.
Limit Garbage Disposal Use
The holiday season usually means more cooking and baking, which means more scraps going down the garbage disposal. To avoid a clogged or overflowing disposal, scrape food scraps into the trash instead. And if you do need to use the disposal, run cold water and feed the scraps in gradually so that it has time to grind them up properly.
Keep an Eye on “Flushable” Items
Extra guests in your home mean more flushing, which can strain your toilets—especially if they're already nearing the end of their lifespan. To avoid an overflowing toilet, be mindful of what you flush. For example, dispose of used sanitary products in the trash instead of flushing them down the toilet. And if you have small children in your home, put a toilet lid lock on each bathroom door to prevent little hands from flushing toys or other objects down the toilet.
Spread Out Hot Water Use
Hot showers and baths are one of the best parts of winter, but all that extra hot water can strain your water heater—and lead to a cold shower if it breaks down completely. Set your water heater's thermostat to 130 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to avoid this problem. This will help prevent scalding while still providing enough hot water for all your needs.
Watch the Drains
Extra cooking and baking during the holidays can lead to grease and food build-up in your drains—which can eventually cause them to clog. To avoid this problem, pour boiling water down each drain once a week to melt away any grease or food build-up before it has a chance to clog your pipes.
You can also use a natural drain cleaner like baking soda and vinegar to keep things flowing smoothly. Just mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1/2 cup vinegar and pour it down the drain, then follow with a pot of boiling water. Let it sit for an hour before running hot water down the drain to flush everything away.
Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners
Chemical drain cleaners are usually a homeowner’s emergency go-to to help with immediate relief from plumbing problems. But did you know that they can actually cause more harm than good? They can lead to more problems with your pipes, damage your sewer system, and they don’t always work on every clog they come into contact with. It’s always better to rely on an experienced professional to pinpoint and repair plumbing problems.
Protect Exposed Pipes from Freezing Temperatures
If you have exposed pipes in your home (in the basement, crawl space, or attic), insulate them before temperatures drop below freezing at night. Frozen pipes can burst and cause damage to your home—so it's better to be safe than sorry! While it may be appealing to tackle the job yourself, we recommend calling a professional to install insulation for the best and most effective results.