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Is Your Home’s Plumbing Ready for the Holiday Season?
The holiday season is a great time for family and friends to get together, visit, eat, and share in their favorite holiday traditions. This means an influx of more visitors than at any other time of the year. Plus, most people will use their kitchens more between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day for preparing holiday meals, baking holiday treats and cookies, and other festive delights.
Both your kitchen’s and home’s plumbing will also be used more often during this time of year. If you do not plan ahead and do some preventive maintenance ahead of time, you could end up with clogged sinks, backed up drains, and overflowing toilets. Finding a 24-hour plumber who can come help, especially on a holiday, can be difficult because they are in high demand.
Tip #1: Prevent Clogged Drains
Never try to put large objects, food materials, hair, grease, and other such things down your drains. Granted, we cannot prevent or stop everything from going down the drain, but you can minimalize how much gets into the drains by using drain screens/filters. These items will collect larger objects and most hair and prevent it from becoming a potential clog.
- Bonus TIP: If you notice you have slow draining sinks before the holiday season, this indicates a clog is developing. Call a plumber right away and have your drains cleaned, rather than waiting until it becomes an emergency house call.
Tip #2: Prevent Garbage Disposal Problems
Garbage disposals are great kitchen appliances that help deal with a wide array of food waste materials. However, certain types of materials should never be put into the disposal because it can create stresses on the disposal, causing it to overheat and stop working correctly. Plus, you can quickly develop a sink clog because the materials aren’t being broken down.
- Never put bones of any type in the disposal. Bones are hard and difficult for your disposal to break down. Plus larger pieces can get stuck in the drain openings in the disposal and create an instant clog.
- Never put potato peelings in the disposal. Potato peelings do not get broken down that easily, and they end up creating a clog and huge mess in your sink. Not to mention, they can cause your disposal to overheat and burn out completely.
- Never put fruit rinds, hard veggies, or other fruit/vegetable peelings in the disposal. Hard rinds can damage the blades and do not break down that well, much like bones. Fruit and vegetable peelings do not get broken down, just like potato peelings, and they create clogs.
- Never pour hot grease into the disposal. Grease can cause problems in the disposal as well as your drain pipes. As soon as it cools, it hardens and eventually creates bigger problems. Furthermore, the grease will create a foul smell coming from your sink, as it does “rot” to a certain extent.
- Always run water when operating the disposal. You need water in the disposal to help move out smaller food particles and transport them down the drain. The cold water also helps to keep the blades and moving parts inside the disposal from overheating.
Depending on how much you use your disposal, at least once a year—especially right before the holidays—have the disposal professionally cleaned by your plumber.
Tip #3: Prevent Overflowing Toilets
Your home’s toilets will be used excessively during your holiday events, parties, and family gatherings. Toilets can clog from too much toilet paper or people attempting to flush other objects down them that they were not designed to handle. In addition, some toilet clogs occur when there is not enough pressure during the flush cycle from various types of toilet plumbing problems.
- Check around toilets for signs of water leaks.
- Open the back cover and verify the flushing mechanism and flapper are working correctly.
If you discover problems with your toilets or already know one or more has certain problems, you do not want to wait to get them fixed. Nothing ruins a great holiday party faster than seeing water running out from under the bathroom door and into the hallway or down the stairs.
Since you cannot control how much toilet paper your guests will use, and you do not want to be a toilet paper Scrooge, it is best to keep plungers next to the primary toilets everyone will be using. In addition, make sure to set out trash cans in plain sight where guests can see them. Then, hopefully, they will toss waste not meant for your toilet into the can instead.
- Bonus TIP: If you hear water running occasionally and the toilet has not been recently flushed, this indicates a bad flapper seal. You should have this fixed because not only are you wasting water, but it can also reduce the amount of pressure during each flush.
Tip #4: Fix Drips and Leaks
Check under-sink cabinets and other accessible areas for signs of leaks and drips. Some drips and leaks are more evident if there is a crack in plumbing pipes or loose fittings. Others can be less subtle because they are very slow leaks.
For instance, if you notice water stains under your kitchen sink but do not notice a leak when you are running water, chances are it is a slow leak. If you ignore it, the leak will gradually become worse. No one wants to turn on their kitchen sink on Christmas Day only to have water come running out of the cabinet onto the kitchen floor.
For sinks, showers, and tubs in your home, if you notice water continues to drip when you shut off the faucet or notice water leaking from around the faucet when the water on, these two issues indicate faulty washers. The washers are no longer tight and are allowing water to leak out.
Depending on the age, type, and design of the faucet, you may only need to have your plumber replace the washer. However, for older faucets or ones that are “single-piece” designs, it is best to get these replaced with new faucets.
Tip #5: Get Your Hot Water Heater Flushed
If your water heater is a tank-style model, sediment can become an issue to the hot water heater’s performance. If you hear snapping, cracking, or popping sounds coming from the water heater when it is heating hot water, sediment could be the cause.
When a hot water tank fails, several things can and do go wrong, creating headaches for homeowners, including:
- No hot water to wash dishes, do laundry or take showers and baths.
- Water can become over-pressurized and the hot water will come flowing out of the pressure release valve.
- Tanks can develop leaks around the bottom where hot water will seep out constantly and can flood the home if there is no drain pan or drain under the heater.
- Water can overheat and tanks can explode, causing damage to your home and potential injuries.
Having a plumbing professional flush the tank can help remove much of the sediment. In addition, your plumber will inspect the tank for other problems which could indicate the tank is nearing the end of its useful lifespan.
- Bonus TIP: If you need to replace your hot water heater, consider tankless models for on-demand and constant hot water. You will never have to worry about running out of hot water when guests visit and stay at your home over the holiday season!
For more plumbing tips to ensure your home is ready for all of your holiday parties and guests, please feel free to contact MET-Plumbing & Air Conditioning at 281-599-3336 to schedule a plumbing inspection or preventive maintenance services today!