As the holidays grow closer, you may be getting your home ready to host family or friends for an extended period of time. Amid the cleaning and meal preparations, don’t forget to give some attention to your home’s plumbing system to avoid potential holiday plumbing disasters. Fix existing problems now to avoid dealing with that uncomfortable plumbing emergency with a house full of guests. If you know you have a clogged toilet or drain, garbage disposal issues or a water heater that doesn’t function properly, have those concerns addressed by a professional plumber before your guests arrive.
Regarding the feared toilet clog, remember that the only things that should be flushed down your toilet are toilet paper and human waste! Your toilet can end up clogged by the use of too much toilet paper and from inappropriate items that find their way into the toilet and get flushed, including sanitary napkins, baby wipes, cleaning wipes, cotton balls and paper towels, to name a few. If you’re having overnight guests, chances are somebody won’t follow the “toilet paper only rule” so you may consider a bathroom sign with reminders of what not to flush.
Do you need to give your drains some seriously overdue attention? You may have a basic drain cleaning product for when the bathtub is backing up or the kitchen sink won’t drain but this short term solution often won’t fix the issue. Scheduled drain cleaning or an emergency drain cleaning when you first recognize the back-up, can stop your drains from getting clogged and leading to cloudy water and a odor that you would have to address with those guests.
It’s important to know that your garbage disposal can only handle so much, and in many cases, it can’t handle many different types of foods and liquids. Think about what you’re putting in your garbage disposal and don’t treat it as a trash can after the big holiday meal is complete. Food items that should not be put in the garbage disposal include celery, potatoes, carrots, onions, lettuce, grease, oil, fat, bones, egg shells, pasta, rice, and coffee. These types of items are hard for the disposal blades to grind up and cause blockages in your drains. Always run cold water when you use your garbage disposal and include a small amount of dish soap when cleaning it.
If you’ve neglected your water heater maintenance, don’t be surprised if your house guests don’t get to enjoy the hottest of showers during their stay. Don’t forget that newer water heaters are more energy efficient, so if yours is over 10-15 years old, it may be time to consider looking into a new one to ensure you don’t have that sudden burst of cold water for several days in a row. And if you’ve got a house full of guests, wait at least 15 minutes between showers to grant time for hot water to replenish.