How to Avoid a Call to the Plumbers This Thanksgiving

A woman calling a plumber for an emergency

Did you know that Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for plumbers? Not because we all head out and try to fight for the best deals on new televisions with the masses of eager shoppers, but because people everywhere have had issues pop up over their Thanksgiving celebrations. With increased dependence on plumbing fixtures, it’s not uncommon for several issues to come up over the holiday, and many people need to have those problems fixed as soon as possible in order to get back to life as usual.

If you want to avoid being one of the many who need an emergency plumbing repair on Black Friday, this blog has some valuable information for you. Here are a couple tips you can follow to avoid an issue and enjoy a stress-free Thanksgiving celebration.

Be Careful What You Put Down the Drain

The single biggest reason for holiday plumbing emergencies over Thanksgiving is a simple one: garbage disposals. With so much food being passed around during the Thanksgiving feast, there’s a good chance you’re going to have to deal with the leftovers. What’s the fastest and most convenient way to get rid of leftovers? The garbage disposal.

However, garbage disposals cannot handle anything and everything that you can feed down the drain. Certain types of things can’t be ground up, while other things are prone to causing clogs, and clogs are a particular nuisance when it comes to garbage disposals. If you want to avoid a garbage disposal problem and emergency call to the plumber, taking care what you put down the drain is a great way to start.

Here are several types of foods you should avoid putting down the drain to keep your garbage disposal and kitchen drain moving smoothly and effectively.

  • Starchy foods: Starchy foods can include things like mashed potatoes, potato skins, or other foods that have a somewhat grainy texture that absorbs moisture. These types of foods tend to stick to the walls of drain lines and cause clogs. They act like a sort-of glue that sticks to other debris in your drain lines, creating larger clogs even quicker. Throw these types of foods away in the regular trash and you’ll spare yourself a number of drain-related headaches.
  • Stringy foods: Asparagus, corn husks, and celery fall into the category of stringy foods. While fiber may be great for your digestive system, it’s not great for your drains. The strings act like a sort of mesh or netting that catches and holds food waste and other debris that trickles down your drain. It may be tempting to throw that last stalk of celery down the drain and call it a day, but put it in the trash with the rest of your food and you’ll be happy you did.
  • Shells: Deviled eggs are a popular Thanksgiving appetizer. However, in order to make them, you have to peel the shell off the egg. There’s a popular myth that throwing eggshells down the drain is actually good for your disposal, but it’s exactly that—a myth. The eggshells don’t actually improve things in your disposal at all and contribute heavily to the formation of clogs. Because they’re solid in nature, these shells make great material for building up obstructions in drain lines that are particularly difficult to remove.
  • Fats & oils: You’ve probably heard that it’s not a good idea to put bacon grease down the drain. It’s true—it isn’t a good idea. But it’s also not a good idea to do so for other meats as well. There’s a good chance you’ll have turkey or roast drippings with your Thanksgiving meal that you may think are fine to put down the drain since the fat isn’t the same as bacon. This isn’t true; the fat may not be the same, but it does essentially the same thing. When it gets cool, it solidifies into a sticky solid that is extremely difficult to get rid of.

Limit Your Toilet Paper Usage

Another common drain-related Thanksgiving problem is a toilet drain issue. If you host Thanksgiving celebrations, your toilet is going to be used. Plain and simple. Obstructions can build up in toilet drain lines, particularly if you or that one family member (you know the one) goes overboard on using the toilet paper. While cleaning up is a good thing, using too much toilet paper can cause it to get stuck in your drain line that’s a real headache to have to deal with. While a plunger may resolve the issue temporarily, the only way to really get the issue resolved is to have your drain cleaned professionally.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Carter Quality Plumbing! If your drains are acting up or you have a plumbing emergency this season, give us a call at (803) 998-2270.