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Pain in the Drain: How the Holidays Can Affect Your Plumbing

Homes suffer a significant amount of stress during the holiday season. With friends and family visiting, and an increase in cooking, your drains and sewer lines could struggle to keep up with the activity. A clogged pipe can cost homeowners a lot of time and money better spent on gifts and entertaining.

Fortunately, there are precautions you can take to protect your plumbing:

Never pour oil or grease down a drain. Baking, frying and roasting those beautiful holiday dinners can leave homeowners with an excess of cooking oils, but even small amounts of grease can cause serious plumbing issues. The best disposal method is to place cooled fats and oils into a sealed container, such as an old coffee can, then put it in the trash. Grease should never, under any circumstances, be poured down a drain.

Use the Garbage Disposal Correctly. Built-in garbage disposals are meant for scraps and food pieces that are rinsed from dishes. The disposal "chews" the food into tiny pieces that will rinse down the drain rather than causing a blockage. Gummy, sticky substances, such as stuffing, pumpkin pie and onions, should never be put into the disposal, nor should left overs, anything containing bones or whole pieces of food. Anything larger than bite-size should be disposed of in the trash.

Maintain your garbage disposal by cleaning it with ice. Turn the disposal on, then pour ice into it. Chopping the ice can help sharpen the blades and dislodge anything stuck in the disposal. Remember that the disposal should always be turned on before putting anything in it.

Don't flush anything but toilet paper. Remind guests that they should never flush paper towels, sanitary napkins or wipes. Even wet wipes that are labeled "flushable" can wreak havoc on sewer lines. Keep wastebaskets available in all restrooms so that guests have access.

Clean your pipes. If your drains aren't flowing freely, have them professionally cleaned before a clog forms. Some do-it-yourself cleaners can be extremely detrimental to pipes, so your check with your plumber before pouring retail cleaners down the drain.

Following these tips can help ensure you have a happy holiday season with family and friends and not with your plumber.

Contact the plumbing professionals at Hawthorne Plumbing, Heating & Cooling if you run into any problems during the holidays. And, don't forget to check our site for monthly specials.