With the holidays coming up, your head will soon be filled with visions of proverbial sugar plums. However, your drains may be filled with something else entirely.
The holiday season puts a lot of extra stress on our plumbing. We have seen as high as a 50% increase in emergency calls around the holidays, something that can be caused by the extra demands we place on our pipes during the season. There are more friends and family over, more cooking, and in general, higher usage of your drainage system.
With the holidays coming up, we want you to be prepared so the festivities can continue without a hitch. Follow these holiday plumbing tips to avoid any Christmas disasters.
1. Don’t Pour Fats, Oils or Grease Down Your Sink
One of the most common plumbing issues with clogged drains or malfunctioning garbage disposals is hardened fat, oil and grease (FOG).
During the holidays, turkey fat and butter can sometimes find their way down the drain, creating a potential clog. Sure it looks like a liquid now, but as all those plate scrapings cool they will start to harden and stick to the inside of your pipes. And if your drains are already partly clogged with hair or other objects, FOG’s can cling to these potential clogs and stop your sink from draining altogether.
According to the City of Calgary, you should let the FOG’s solidify by leaving them out to cool at room temperature or in a fridge. Then, dispose of the solidified FOG’s in your green cart to compost (maximum amount is 2 litres).
2. Use A Mesh Drain For Your Sinks
It’s amazing how many kitchen and bathroom sinks aren’t using mesh drain covers. Basically, they prevent food, dirt or debris from going down the drain. And especially with the increase of food and guests, mesh drains help avoid a holiday plumbing disaster.
In your kitchen, position a mesh drain in the sink where you conduct your dishwashing. You may be thinking, “What can those small scraps of food do?” Well, over time, those small scraps of food can buildup into a clogged drain. And if you’re doing lots of cooking for the holidays, one small piece of mesh can be a drain clogging saviour. You’d be surprised how much food a mesh drain catches in a week.
In your bathroom, position a mesh drain in your bathtub, shower or bathroom sink. With the possibility of having guests over for the holidays, your bathroom sinks will collect more hair and dirt than usual. Again, these things accumulate over time. It only takes one holiday weekend for your plumbing system to quit on you.
3. Inspect Your Water Heater
It’s important to always inspect your water heater, especially if it’s getting a little bit older. With additional guests at your home taking showers combined with freezing weather, your water heater will be working overtime. This extended stress can cause your heater to break, leak and cause severe damage to your home.
Depending on the model, a water heater’s life expectancy averages between 8-20 years. Once your heater reaches that age range, you should begin to inspect it weekly.
If your water heater is leaking, you’ll hear a dripping sound. Use the dripping sound to guide you to the source of the drip. Odd noises like banging or clunking can be another good indication of a leak. You’re more likely to hear the leak before you see the results of a puddle in front of your water heater.
Also, inspect the top of your heater for a leak. Take a look at the pipes where water enters and leaves the tank.
If it’s time to replace your water heater for the holidays, request a quote with Knight Plumbing.
4. Prepare Your Bathroom
With toilets, foreign objects are the leading causes of toilet clogs. A small child may decide to test that new Aquaman toy by seeing if it flushes. Other guests may try flushing other non-flushables like paper towels, baby wipes, feminine hygiene supplies or simply, huge wads of toilet paper.
According to the City of Calgary, the list of items not to flush down the toilet are diapers, wet wipes, rags, bandages, cosmetics, cotton swabs, dental floss, and personal hygiene products. Instead of flushing items that are more likely to cause a clog, discard those items in a trash bin. Make sure there are trash cans in every bathroom, its what a good host would do.
5. Set Rules Around Shower & Bath Times
Wonder where all the hot water went? Well, the Grinch didn’t steal it. Having guests over for the holidays can put some strain on your water heater. By implementing 15-minute shower and bath time rules, no one will be left to suffer through a cold shower.
Another alternative is investing in a tankless water heater. Although they can be more expensive than traditional water heaters, there are plenty of benefits. The main benefits being you’ll never run out of hot water, or pay to keep a giant tank of water heated at all times. Tankless systems can supply heated water through either gas or electrical, and will also save you anywhere from 30-70% over traditional water heaters.
Read more here if you want a more in-depth analysis of Tankless vs. Traditional Water Heater.
What To Do If You Have A Holiday Plumbing Emergency?
Call our 24/7 emergency plumbing service at (403) 287-8980. If you’re looking to prepare your drains for the holidays, we offer drain checking and cleaning services. Choose Knight Plumbing this holiday season!