With the holidays quickly approaching, you may be preparing your home to host family or friends for an extended period of time. Between the cleaning and meal preparations, don’t forget to give some attention to your home’s plumbing system to avoid potential holiday plumbing nightmares. Fix existing problems now to keep from dealing with that awkward 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 isn’t working correctly, 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 unacceptable things that find their way into the toilet and get flushed, like 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 think about a bathroom sign with reminders of what not to flush.
Is it time 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 doesn’t drain but this short term solution often will not solve the problem. Regular 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 smell that you would have to address with those guests.
It’s helpful to realize that your garbage disposal can only handle so much, and in many cases, it can’t take many different types of foods and liquids. Be mindful of what you’re putting down your garbage disposal and don’t treat it as a trash can after the big holiday meal is finished. Food items that should not be used 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 difficult 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 put off 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 above 10-15 years old, it may be time to begin looking into a new one to be assured you don’t have that sudden burst of cold water for multiple days. And if you’ve got a house full of guests, wait at least 15 minutes between showers to give time for hot water to refresh.