Thanksgiving is nearly here, and that means plumbers around the nation are gearing up for what’s sure to yet again be an extremely busy Black Friday. However, they won’t be doing any shopping for those killer deals you may find advertised—they’re gearing up for their busiest day of the year. Many people don’t realize it, but the day after Thanksgiving is actually the single busiest day of the year for plumbers across the United States. There are several reasons for this, but arguably the largest one is simple: drain clogs. Plumbing festivities lead to a ton of drain clogs, and that means we have to get to work snaking, jetting, and clearing out lines of all shapes and sizes.
If you want to avoid being one of the thousands of homeowners across the country who has to make the call to a plumber for a repair this holiday, following these few preventative tips can make sure you do just that.
Be Careful What You Put Down the Drain
The number one reason for plumbing calls on Black Friday: garbage disposals. Thanksgiving is generally a feast, and feasts mean lots of leftovers that need to be disposed of. While throwing things away is one option, garbage disposals are generally safer, easier, and faster than emptying everything into the trash and then throwing it all away. Not to mention they help keep the pests away.
However, certain types of foods simply shouldn’t be put down the drain at all. Doing so increases the chances of a clog, and clogs behind garbage disposals are particularly difficult to deal with. Don’t know what to avoid, here’s a short list:
- Stringy foods: anything with a stringy or fibrous texture, including asparagus, celery, or corn husks are all major contributors to clogs. Not to mention the strings can get stuck in rotors and rot, leading to extremely strong odors that are difficult to get rid of.
- Starchy foods: Mashed potatoes or baked potato skins are the biggest offenders here. These foods tend to expand and become sticky when they get wet, making them great for sticking to the walls of plumbing lines and contributing to clogs. They also act as the glue that holds clogs together.
- Shells: There’s a popular myth that eggshells sharpen the blades of your garbage disposal and thus are actually good for your drain. Wrong. They don’t sharpen anything in your garbage disposal and they’re also huge contributors to clogs and clog buildup. Avoid putting things like shrimp shells or nutshells down the drain as well.
- Fats and oils: Planning on using bacon for part of your Thanksgiving feast? Need a place to get rid of that little bit of leftover turkey gravy? Don’t put it down the drain. When fats get cold, they coagulate into a sticky solid. The conditions in your drain lines are generally cold and offer a great surface for these fats to grab onto. Throw these liquids into an unused can or jar and then throw the entire thing away. Alternatively, you could wait for the fat to solidify in that jar and then spoon it out into the trash. It’s not the most fun way of cleaning, but you’ll be glad you put in the extra effort when you don’t have to worry about a drain clog.
- Bread: Yes, breads like dinner rolls, turkey stuffing, or even the breaded skin around fried turkey are all prone to causing serious clog issues. Much like starchy foods, breads expand when they get wet, and that means they increase in volume sort of like a sponge in your drain line. A sponge also absorbs things, and thus bread also absorbs other waste that comes by, contributing to a larger and larger clog. Toss bread in the normal trash.
- Soft bones: Soft bones like wishbones and other parts of a carcass may seem okay to put down the drain, but they have similar properties to shells: they splinter into small pieces and only contribute to clogs. Toss them out in the regular trash with the rest of the carcass.
Limit Toilet Paper Use
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, your bathrooms will be used. Plain and simple. When your bathrooms are used, there’s a good chance so will toilet paper. Toilet paper is easily the largest source of clogs in toilet drain lines, particularly from those who simply use too much of it. We understand the need for cleanliness and sanitation, but going overboard on the toilet paper causes a lot of headaches as well. Whether you’re visiting friends and family or hosting yourself, try and limit the amount of toilet paper you use with each trip to the restroom. This will not only keep your drains flowing easier, but prevent the need for a pesky and frustrating call to the plumber to have the clog removed later.
If you have a holiday plumbing problem to deal with, call the experts at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical at (909) 253-0664 and we’ll get it fixed for you!