Handling Holiday Stress: A Plumbers Perspective

10/12/12 8:04 AM

You’ve spent 11.5 months making your budget as efficient as possible.

Do you dread the way the holidays will stress your monetary system?

Your plumbing system will feel the stress of the holidays, too, in kind of the same way.

As our toilets and faucets become more efficient, they have a little less water to push things through the sewer pipe and out of your home, whether that’s into a septic tank or a municipal waste system.

So when you’re inviting extra guests over for parties or extended visits and shoving scraps of food down the kitchen sink, the water that normally runs through the system and carries waste away, is stressed.

Kind of like when your kid insists he or she WILL DIE AT SCHOOL WITHOUT their iphone or ipad.

I can’t help you with the kids… but I can tell you what to do to make sure your holidays aren’t ruined by backed up pipes.

  • Don’t put stringy vegetable fibers into the garbage disposal.  Maybe you found this out the hard way when you put leftover pumpkin down the drain in October.  Perhaps you noticed last summer that the disposal unit just tangles the silk from corn.  In any case, forbid fiber.  Eat it in January as you resolve to have a better body but never put it in your sink.
  • Don’t put starch into your drains.  That means, as you bake love into your cookies, don’t dump flour into the sink.  Flour plus water makes glue.  That makes for not good flow in a pipe.  Ever clean your sink when a bit of flour got stuck to the side?  Hard stuff to remove, isn’t it.  Imagine a lot of that, building up… definitely stuff that can restrict flow or cause a complete blockage.
  • Don’t put grease into your drain.  The smell of bacon as part of a holiday brunch…. oooooo… bacon… the tantalizing but oh, not good for the arteries, who cares, I MUST HAVE IT… er, excuse me.  Those pictures that cholesterol lowering drug companies use can also accurately demonstrate what happens as liquid grease enters a pipe and cools, hardens, builds up, and restricts flow.

Now, I don’t mean to scare you into moving all your washing up to the local stream leaving your sink pristine and untouched.  It’s okay to get a little veggie stuff in there and some flour and a bit of grease.  Just run hot water as you use your disposal to help get things moving.

In fact, run the water hot before you use the dishwasher.  Most dishwasher detergents are formulated to work at hot temperatures and, if you don’t run the water in the sink before you turn on your machine, the cold water in the pipes won’t activate the cleaners.  So, running the hot water to keep your pipe clean will improve the efficiency of your dishwasher.

Kinda like finding your kid’s favorite toy on sale when you have a coupon.

But, if the worst happens and something goes wrong with your plumbing, relax and dial 860-748-7305.

Then, kick back with a glass of eggnog while I make things right again.

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for 2013!

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