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Thanksgiving Plumbing Tips

For many Houston households, Thanksgiving means a big meal surrounded by friends and family. Extended vacation allows for out-of-town guests and quality time with friends – maybe even a lazy board game or puzzle while watching a favorite movie. It also means extra use of the plumbing system with a constant flow of dirty dishes and cookware.

Extra people in the home ensures more showers and water use over the holiday as well. Traditionally there is 50% spike in plumbing calls after Thanksgiving, and it’s not difficult to figure out the reasons why. Universal wants to help our Houston neighbors keep their plumbing trouble-free throughout the holiday season (and beyond). Read over these essential tips and make sure that guests are aware of them too!

Grease/Oil/Fat Containment: A typical Thanksgiving dinner usually involves some kind of dish that produces grease from oil and fat. The turkey, ham or any number of sides will generate messy cookware and dishes. Grease is not good for the plumbing and is one of the major factors in the spike of stoppages every year. Make sure that you wipe off the excess grease and oil of all cookware and dishes before you wash them in the sink. Keep a trash can next to the sink for quick, efficient removal of grease and greasy cleaning products.

Food Waste Removal: The garbage disposal is often used as a trash can when the house is full and big meals are a constant. Excessive use, and large amounts of food waste disposed of at one time, can clog and even break a disposal. This year consider creating a compost for your garden, plants or lawn. Add all the food waste (save for bones) to a trash bag and forego disposal use altogether.

Proper Disposal Use: If you decide that you need to use your disposal, make sure to follow the rules of proper usage. Always keep the water flowing while in use – and when disposing of greasy food waste make sure the water is cold. Also reacquaint yourself with the organic waste that should not be put down the disposal. A few of the common culprits that can hurt your unit include: onion, lettuce, celery (any fibrous vegetable or fruit) rice, pasta, bones, coffee grinds, egg shells and, of note, turkey skin.

Disposal Cleaning: The constant use of the disposal throughout the holiday will ensure that it needs some cleaning. Pouring a little dish soap into the unit with some cold water while it is running is a good way to clean it out. Also, throwing ice cubes into the disposal will not only clean it, but help sharpen the blades. If you are dealing with troublesome odors, throwing a few lemon slices into the grinder should help get rid of them.

Flushing Food: Though it sounds like an obvious tip, never flush food down the toilet. One of the reasons post-Thanksgiving is such a busy time for plumbers is that food is disposed of improperly – which includes toilets. Small children (as well as some careless adults) will attempt to get rid of uneaten food in the bathroom. Make sure that there multiple trash cans around the house in case someone needs to get rid of food.

Toilet Use: If you are hosting a house full of guests for the holiday, go over the rules of the disposal – and the toilet with everyone. This is especially important if little kids are staying in the house. While the basic talking point of toilet use is that NOTHING should be flushed except for human waste and toilet paper, people don’t always follow that rule. The most common products that keep plumbers busy are: flushable wipes, feminine napkins, cotton balls, floss, tissues – and, once again, food.

Universal hopes that you and your family have a stress-free Thanksgiving. But if you happen to need service or repair during the holiday, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our plumbing technicians will help with your repairs needs – so you can focus on quality time with your friends and family. Contact us online or give us a call at (713) 364-0226.