If you’re like us, you probably are wondering where the year 2019 went. It seemed like yesterday we were welcoming the year in and suddenly it’s December and we only have a few weeks left in the decade. That means the holidays are here, and if you’re like most people you probably want to avoid any unnecessary stress or headaches during this time. After all, with vacations, travel, holiday plans, and other things to worry about, who wants to spend any extra time dealing with something that could have been prevented?
However, plumbing emergencies don’t stop for the holidays, and if you’re not careful you could find yourself dealing with one of these frustrating and obnoxious issues when you really don’t want to. However, emergencies aren’t always random or unforeseeable—taking some proactive measures and simple steps to prevent them can go a long way toward keeping your plumbing working great throughout the season and all of winter.
Here are three common emergencies you’ll want to avoid this holiday season and some helpful tips that make it simple to do so.
A Jammed Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals get a lot of extra work during the holidays. Hosting Christmas dinner or a Hanukkah party? Odds are you’re probably going to have lots of food, and plenty of leftovers or waste that needs to be disposed of. The garbage disposal is arguably the fastest and most convenient way of doing so, and likewise also one of the best when it comes to keeping pests at bay.
However, your garbage disposal isn’t the best way to dispose of any and every type of food. Certain types of foods are actually bad for your disposal, and plenty of others can create nasty clogs that are extremely difficult to deal with. It should come as little surprise that garbage disposal emergencies are some of the most common calls we receive during this period.
Want to avoid a garbage disposal problem? The solution is simple: don’t put certain things down the garbage disposal. Here are a few of the things to avoid:
- Stringy foods: Asparagus, celery, and corn husks
- Shells: Nutshells, eggshells, and shrimp shells
- Starchy foods: Flour, cornstarch, potatoes, mashed potatoes, or potato skins
- Breads: Dinner rolls, cakes, or other spongy-textured foods that absorb liquid
- Fats: Bacon grease, fat drippings from holiday roasts
A Burst Pipe
Burst pipes can cause immense devastation in an extremely short amount of time, and those of us who live in climates where the weather can frequently dip below freezing are particularly prone to them. The number one cause of a burst pipe during winter is a frozen pipe—when the weather dips below freezing, the water in a line freezes and expands. When it has nowhere to go, it puts pressure on your plumbing line, eventually causing it to fail. Sudden, major failures cause burst pipes, and burst pipes can flood an entire home in as little as an hour or two.
Take the time to insulate any exposed plumbing lines and any visible water lines that are located on exterior-facing walls. Plumbing insulation generally costs just a few cents per foot, but can save you thousands in repair costs. Likewise, if you’re going to be traveling, shut off your water at your main water supply and open your taps and faucets to a slow drip. This alleviates pressure in your lines and gives water space to expand to if it does freeze over while you’re gone.
A Blocked Toilet
Blocked toilets are unfortunately all too common in winter. With your family home, kids on vacation, and guests visiting, your toilets are going to get a lot of extra use. When they do, that means the odds of a frustrating and sometimes embarrassing clog only go up. The best way to prevent this is to simply limit your toilet paper use. Toilet paper catches on to nearly any piece of debris that may be in your toilet’s drain line and quickly builds up forming blockages and clogs that are immensely frustrating to get rid of.
Likewise, flushing multiple times also helps prevent clogs. Trying to remove too much debris with one flush, including too much toilet paper, can lead to a sudden buildup and blockage that requires breaking out the plunger to clear. Flushing frequently to keep waste loads smaller prevents these obnoxious problems and keeps your toilet working smoothly and discreetly.
Happy holidays from our family to yours! Call American Rooter Plumbing at (402) 298-5414 if you’ve got a plumbing problem that needs solving and we’ll take care of it so you can go back to your plans as soon as possible.