Winter Plumbing Tips

winter plumbing tipsThe holidays bring together family, friends and a few plumbing emergencies. These extra guests put a serious strain on a home’s plumbing system, which results in more emergency calls to plumbers.

Big holiday meals require a busy kitchen. Too much grease and food finds its way into the kitchen drain or disposer. Holiday guests also equate to extra showers, bath and lots of extra toilet flushes. It all adds up to potential plumbing disasters.
Pipes clog because of a gradual buildup of grease, hair, soap or food particles. All it takes is one major overload, like a house full of guests, to exasperate the situation and create a clogged drain. Follow these tips to avoid a plumbing disaster.

In The Kitchen:

 

  • Avoid pouring fats or cooking oils down the drain because liquid fats solidify in the pipes and create clogs. Wipe congealed grease from pots.
  • Never put hard-to-grind, stringy, fibrous waste into the garbage disposer (poultry skins, carrots, celery, pumpkin pulp or banana peels). The disposer can’t sufficiently grind these items and they will clog your sink drain.
  • Run cold water down the drain for about 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposer to flush waste down the main line.
  • Turn on the disposer before adding food debris.
  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine at night or at off times to conserve water temperature and pressure for your guests.

 

In The Bathroom:

 

  • Plan ahead, spread out showers throughout the day; wait 10 minutes between showers rather than taking one right after another.
  • Turn up the water heater slightly to retain hot water. To avoid scalding, do not exceed 125°F.
  • If shower pressure is weak, pour a cup of vinegar into a plastic bag, place it over the showerhead, and soak. Use a twist tie to hold it in place overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and use an old toothbrush to gently scrub off the mineral deposits to help restore water flow.
  • Provide a trash bin in the bathroom so the toilet isn’t used as a garbage can. Never flush cotton swabs, cotton balls, hair, facial scrub pads, diapers, sanitary products or similar items down the toilet. These items will not easily dissolve and are responsible for most clogs.