Holiday gatherings put your plumbing into overdrive. More flushes, more showers, more unexpected items down the drain…inevitably leads to more issues. The good news is, many of these are preventable. Here are a few things we get called on to repair EVERY holiday season, and how to avoid them.

Kitchen Drains

The kitchen is the number one culprit for holiday plumbing issues due to all of the extra stuff getting sent down your drain. Guess what? You can CHOOSE what goes down your kitchen drain!

Never Ever EVER

You should never put GREASE, FAT, or OIL down your drain. EVER. These items harden in your pipes and clog your drain. Before washing grease covered dishes or cookware, let them cool first and wipe off any oil or grease with paper towels and toss in the garbage. Now you are ready to clean them safely.

Take care of your disposal

We often encounter garbage disposal clogs and malfunctions because they are overloaded with too much, or the wrong type of food. If your disposal is not able to grind what is jammed down the drain, it will lead to a malfunction or ultimately clog your drain. Pro tip: cut large scraps into smaller pieces before disposing and avoid problem food items all together. These foods should always be avoided: 

  • Peels
  • Bones
  • poultry skins
  • Celery
  • Eggshells
  • pumpkin pulp
  • And regretfully…NO CRAB SHELLS! 

Toilet Trouble

We will keep it simple. Don’t flush anything other than toilet paper. Most toilet clogs occur when things that shouldn’t be flushed are sent down the drain. 

Here are the No, No, Never items.

  • “Flushable Wipes” these go in the garbage, not the toilet,
  • feminine products
  • paper towels
  • facial tissues

None of these break down like common toilet tissue and only contribute to clogs. Adding a sign to the guest bathroom that reminds what is and isn’t ok to flush, will keep everyone on the same page and prevent the dash for the plunger! And if you don’t already have a plunger and a wastebasket in the guest bathroom, add them. A lot of problems will “solve themselves” when provided the right tools 🙂 

A note about septic tanks:

Has your system been pumped recently? Increased use on a full tank during the holidays can cause a backup, and not a Beltway West-Side Outer Loop on a Friday type backup, a sewage backup. Yuck. Generally, septic tanks should be pumped every three to five years, but it depends on how many people live in your house.

Water Heaters

This is one you might already be feeling with more people in your house. LOOKING AT YOU KID HOME FROM COLLEGE! Your water heater needs to be able to keep up with demands of the house. But more importantly, you should make sure your water heater isn’t on the cusp of failing. The average lifespan of a water heater is 8-12 years. If you can’t remember the last time, it’s probably too old. One of the most common issues is the bottom of the tank falling out…which can be bad. Real bad. If you aren’t sure, just let us know and we can help determine the age of the tank. 

The holidays can be crazy for families. But plumbers too! If you aren’t sure about something, just give us a call. Remember, its always better to save time and call Prime 😉 


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