The Holiday season is a time for families to come together and appreciate good company and good food. Unfortunately, an untimely clogged drain or toilet can quickly sabotage the good spirits and bring the festivities screeching to a halt. By remembering a couple of important plumbing tips, you can assist with guaranteeing that holiday plumbing issues won’t dampen the happiness. All things considered, you want your holidays to be remembered for presents, not plungers!

8 Holiday Plumbing Tips

1. Save the drain, put leftovers in the trash

When it’s time to clean up, fight the urge to simply toss the leftovers into your sink. There are a bunch of foods that should never go down your disposal (more on that in a moment), and if you don’t have a disposal, you absolutely want to be cautious about what goes down your drains. One of the easiest ways to prevent unwanted leftovers from going down the drain is to use an inexpensive sink strainer. Once you’re done washing your dishes, you can simply discard the collected waste in the garbage or compost.

2. Know What Goes in the Disposal

Homeowners sometimes treat their garbage disposal unit as a magical machine that can eliminate any kind of waste. Unfortunately, there are many food prodcuts that can cause serious damage to the unit and clog your drains. In addition to educating yourself with some of the common myths associated with garbage disposals, you should also be sure to avoid putting the following foods down the drain:

  • Fibrous or stringy foods (such as celery or other tough vegetables)
  • Animal bones and fat
  • Rice, pasta, or bread-based products that can expand when exposed to moisture
  • Paper, metal, or plastic materials (this should be obvious, but accidents happen)
  • Cooking oils and grease
  • Eggshells

3. Wait 10-15 Minutes Between Showers

If you’re hosting guests overnight during the holidays, the last thing you want to deal with is an ice-cold shower! It’s a good idea to space out the time between showers to about 10 or 15 minutes. Not only does this allow your hot water supply to replenish but also allows your drains an opportunity to empty. Each additional person showering means more hair that could potentially end up down your drains. A normal shower drain can handle a bit of hair, but a few extra showers could quickly create a drain backup. Again, using a drain strainer can be very beneficial when it comes to keeping your drains clear of potential clogs.

4. Toilets Are For Waste and Toilet Paper

When you’re hosting guests for Christmas, your toilets are probably going to have to work a bit harder than usual. Unfortunately, not everyone may be as considerate of your plumbing as you are! Make sure your guests know not to flush bathroom items that commonly clog household toilets:

  • Sanitary napkins
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Cleansing wipes
  • Facial pads
  • Cotton balls and swabs
  • Paper towels
  • Cigarette butts

5. Dispose of Grease Properly

Grease is the top threat to your plumbing. When hot grease cools or comes in contact with cold water it quickly congeals. When it solidifies in your drain, it restricts flow and catches other materials until it hardens into a major clog. Rather than disposing of grease down the drain, pour it into a can or plastic bag that can be disposed of in the garbage.

6. Wait to Use the Dishwasher

When you’re cleaning up after a holiday dinner, it can be tempting to run a dishwasher cycle while you continue to hand wash other dishes. Unfortunately, you might be creating more work for yourself by doing so. The dishwasher and the garbage disposal typically share the same drain, so running the disposal or pouring anything into the sink can wind up pushing that waste back up into the dishwasher’s cleaning cycle. Even worse, if your drains become clogged, running the dishwasher could cause the water to back up and flood your kitchen.

7. Only Cooks in the Kitchen

Keeping kitchen traffic to a minimum not only makes it easier for you to prepare food and clean up afterward but also helps you to avoid costly plumbing “accidents.” Maybe your mother-in-law dumps a plate of food into your sink, not realizing you don’t have a garbage disposal. Or perhaps your cousin loses a ring down the drain, or one of the kids doesn’t know that grease-filled pans shouldn’t go into the dishwasher. Taking a few steps to control your kitchen environment can help ensure that this holiday season won’t be remembered as the one where the sink overflowed.

8. Prepare Your Drains

Pour a brine solution (or very strong salt water) into your sink to eliminate odors. This is great for kitchen sinks because it keeps grease from building up in your drains, plus it’s an ideal preventive measure that can save you money down the road. 

9. Buy a Drain Snake

Your sinks, showers, and toilets are more likely to see more use during the holidays, with guests and overnighters. So, keep a plumber’s snake handy and learn how to snake your drain should a clog occur. A drain snake, also known as a hand auger, is a tool used to clean out clogs in smaller drains such as the bathroom or kitchen sinks. For larger pipes, such as your toilet, you may need a larger toilet auger to do the job. 

10. Be Proactive

Hosting a holiday dinner can put a lot of pressure on your household plumbing. Your kitchen and bathroom are likely going to get far more use than usual, so minor problems and clogs that you tolerate normally can quickly become a serious issue when visitors arrive. Scheduling an appointment with a professional plumbing service to check your drains for clogs and check for issues can help prevent unexpected problems when you’d rather be enjoying the holiday season.

At Prestige Plumbing, we know you’d rather be focused on enjoying your holidays rather than dealing with plumbing issues. We also realize that sometimes things go wrong. That’s why we’re standing by to handle your plumbing emergencies so you can get back to enjoying the holiday with your family. If you encounter a problem that’s too much to manage on your own, our team of professionals is ready to help!