10 Oct

Company Is Coming. How’s Your Plumbing?

Can Your Plumbing Handle A Holiday?

You probably don’t give your plumbing much thought when you’re getting ready to host an event. You may clean and organize your house top to bottom, but I bet you just assume your plumbing is going to come through for you when you need it.

Except when it doesn’t. Unfortunately, sometimes your plumbing breaks down at the worst possible times. For example, when twenty people are coming over to your house for Thanksgiving. Here are the most likely plumbing problems that could ruin your holiday, and what you can do to prevent disaster.

Your garbage disposal

Your garbage disposal will go on strike if you do any of the following:

  • Throw too much food into it at once. This can back up your disposal and potentially damage the blades.
  • Pour grease or fat into the disposal. Grease and fat can also clog your drain once it’s cooled and hardened. This makes it more difficult for your disposal to work effectively. So, what can you do with the grease? Check out these ideas. 
  • Put bones in the disposal. This will definitely cause it to jam. Even little tiny ones.
  • Other foods to avoid putting down your disposal: fruit pits, seeds, celery, egg shells, coffee grounds, and pasta. 

 Before you begin your major food preparation:

  • Sharpen up your blades by dropping ice down your disposal.
  • If you suspect you have sludgy backup in your drain, try combining the ice with rock salt. Let cold water run over the ice/rock salt combination for five to ten seconds, and then run the disposal. If you don’t have rock salt on hand, household vinegar should do the trick. 
  • To deodorize the disposal, we recommend tossing a few orange and lemon peels to help cut any lingering odors.
  • If you find yourself stuck, check out our tips on how to unjam your disposal here: How To Unjam Your Garbage Disposal.

 

Your toilet

No one likes to talk about this one because, well, it’s your toilet. However, the last thing you want is your toilet backed up or worse – overflowing – when you have guests. Too much toilet paper, and too many “flushable wipes” can really mess with your toilet’s ability to stay unclogged. 

Prepare your toilet for an increase in use:

  • Clean it thoroughly. Make certain that the jets under the bowl are clean and cleared of any buildup. If the jets are clogged, the toilet can’t flush at full power, which keeps you from clearing out the clog. If it’s been awhile since you’ve checked all the way under the lid, you may need to don some gloves and a small scrub brush to get in there and unplug those jets.
  • Remind the children coming to your house what an appropriate amount of toilet paper looks like for the job. (You may need to remind a few adults, too!)
  • Flushable wipes. Rethink these. As handy and convenient as they may be, they are also a big culprit in toilet backups. They simply don’t break down like they claim. If you have them, we encourage you to throw them in the garbage instead. Your toilet, not to mention your neighborhood sewer system, will thank you.
  • Have your plunger, towels, and a bucket within close proximity in case disaster strikes. 
  • Familiarize yourself with your toilet. Read up on it here: A Tour Of Your Toilet.

 

Your hot water heater

If your guests are spending the night, chances are they will be taking a shower or bath at some time. Make sure your hot water heater can take the heat!

Get Your Water Heater Ready:

  • Set the temperature to a reasonable and energy efficient 120 degrees. If you have smaller children staying with you, a higher water heater temperature can result in scalding and burns. Keep them safe!
  • A few days before your guests arrive, take a little time to inspect and flush your water heater if you haven’t done that recently. We explain how here: How To Inspect Your Water Heater and here: How To Drain Your Water Heater.
  • Make sure your guests can get the hot water they want quickly. Something as simple as pipe wrap can help get the hot water where you need it faster. Give us a call and we can guide you if that’s an option you would like look into.

 

Don’t forget: if disaster strikes, we are available 24/7 to take your calls. 503-620-9111

Be ready for company and focus on the important things: family, friends, food, and fun!

About Karen Mares

A Portlander born and raised, Karen lives in Southwest Portland with her husband and children. Karen has kept journals throughout her life, and she began her personal blog, Random Thoughts From A Suburban Mom in 2007. She hasn't stopped writing online since, channeling her passion for words and information into writing and communicating through social media and blogging.