Hosting gatherings and having family and friends stay over is one of the best parts of the holidays. The only problem is that dinner parties and guests will force your plumbing system to do a lot of extra work, which can easily lead to major issues if you’re not careful. The good news is that following these simple tips will go a long way towards ensuring you can fully enjoy the holidays without any plumbing problems popping up.

1. Get Any Plumbing Problems Fixed Before Your Guests Arrive

Before the holidays arrive, it’s a good idea to go around your house to make sure all of your plumbing fixtures work correctly and check for any issues. Being proactive is important for preventing major plumbing issues from arising when you’re hosting a holiday party or have guests staying over. The last thing you want is for your kitchen sink to suddenly clog up during Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner or for your sewer system to clog and cause sewage to back up inside your house.

If you notice your kitchen or bathroom sink is draining slowly, you’ll want to try to use a plunger or have a plumber clean the drain with a pipe snake to ensure it doesn’t fully clog up. Cleaning your drains ahead of time will help to prevent clogs. However, you shouldn’t try to use drain cleaner, as this can cause major damage to your pipes and potentially lead to a leak.

It is especially important to watch for any signs that your sewer line is starting to clog. This will help to ensure you don’t have to deal with a sewage backup in the middle of the party. If all of your drains are slow or your toilets don’t flush well and make a gurgling sound, you should contact a plumber to have your sewer line inspected and cleaned.

2. Make Sure All Food Scraps Go in the Trash

Many homes have garbage disposals, so your guests may be used to just scraping everything into the sink and running the disposal. As such, it is important that you make sure that any food scraps on all plates and dishes get scraped into the trash before going into the sink to help prevent the sink from clogging.

3. Use Sink and Shower Strainers to Help Prevent Clogs

Even if you scrape the dishes into the trash can, you should also make sure to use sink strainers to catch any remaining bits of food and prevent them from going down the drain. Having a strainer in your bathroom sink and shower will also help them drain better and prevent hair from clogging them.

4. Use Your Garbage Disposal Properly

Even if you have a garbage disposal, you still shouldn’t scrape all food scraps into the sink. Garbage disposals can’t handle all types of food. You also shouldn’t overuse the garbage disposal, as putting too much food down the drain at one time can easily lead to a clog.

It is especially important that starchy foods like potatoes, potato peels, rice, or pasta don’t go in the garbage disposal, as they will form a sticky mass that can quickly cause a clog. You should also avoid putting any fibrous fruits or vegetables in a garbage disposal since they can bind them up and stop them from working.

It’s important to always have cold water running when using your garbage disposal. You also need to leave the water running for at least 15 seconds after shutting the disposal off to ensure all of the food scraps get fully flushed down the drain.

If your disposal binds up or clogs, you should shut it off immediately to avoid the motor burning out. You can usually free up the impellers or blades by inserting an Allen wrench in the slot on the underside of the unit. After unplugging the unit, turn the wrench back and forth as far as it goes until you feel the blades move freely.

5. Dispose of Fat, Oil, and Grease Properly

Any type of fat, oil, or grease needs to be disposed of properly. Even with a lot of hot water, fat and grease will still congeal and potentially stick to drain pipes or inside the main sewer line.

Fat, oil, and grease are some of the main contributors to clogs, so it’s important that they always go in the trash. Hot oil and grease should always be poured into a heat-proof container, like a jar or can. After disposing of the fat or grease, you also want to wipe any remaining grease out of the pan and off of your dishes before you rinse them or put them in the dishwasher.

6. Keep a Trash Can and Plunger in Each Bathroom

Clogged toilets and sewer line clogs are especially common over the holidays since your guests may end up flushing tissues, wet wipes, feminine hygiene products, paper towels, and other solid items down the toilet. This is why it’s important that your guests know that they should only flush toilet paper and human waste. Having a trash can next to the toilet in each bathroom is important so that your guests can dispose of these things and won’t be tempted to just flush them down the toilet.

You also want to have a plunger on hand in each bathroom in case anyone does clog the toilet. If a toilet does clog, plunging it immediately is important to prevent it from possibly overflowing and flooding your bathroom with waste.

7. Have Your Water Heater Serviced

Tank water heaters should always be inspected, serviced, and flushed at least once a year. If this isn’t something you’ve done recently, it’s a good idea to schedule a full water heater service before the holidays come and your guests arrive. Draining and flushing a hot water tank is especially important because it removes sediment buildup from the tank. When a lot of sediment is present, it will often result in the unit taking more than an hour or two to fully reheat when you’ve used up most of the hot water. You may also run out of hot water much more quickly. Having your water heater flushed and serviced will make it work more effectively and help ensure you always have hot water when you need it.

If you’re having any plumbing issues or need to have your plumbing inspected or your water heater serviced, Huft Home Services is here to help. We specialize in all plumbing, drain, and sewer services, and we can also take care of your heating, air conditioning, and electrical needs. For more information on how to avoid plumbing problems this holiday season or to schedule a hearing or cooling service in the Sacramento, Elk Grove, and Yuba City areas, give us a call today.

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