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While most Americans associate turkey, food and family with the Thanksgiving holiday, a large number of households will add “plumbing emergency” to that list. The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is, on average, the busiest weekend for plumbing-related emergencies, and it’s all rooted in our beloved national holiday.

Thanksgiving creates the perfect storm for plumbing problems. An increased amount of disposal waste, large amounts of cooking grease, and stringy foods like pumpkin and squash combine to form the perfect recipe for an unwelcome holiday drain clog. Combine that with your houseguests, and the holiday may just overwhelm your household plumbing.

Cooking grease from poultry makes a pretty good plug, because it congeals in the drainpipe into a gelatinous substance that makes a form-fitting, waterproof seal. Your turkey isn’t the only table item that’s working against you. Pumpkin strings and rinds dry into a hard, glue-like substance once they escape the disposer. Combined with other food scraps, your kitchen drain doesn’t stand a chance.
Your bathroom might not fare much better. Additional showers from houseguests may put too much pressure on an already slow drain. Guests may also try to flush items like disposable wipes, diapers, tampons and paper towels. And a convenient powder room may be pressed into service when the kitchen sink is too crowded.

Here are a few tips to help your drains survive the holiday.
• Do not throw turkey grease, drippings or gravy down the drain. Instead, drain the grease into an empty milk jug or other similar container, replace the lid and dispose of the grease in the trash. You could also reserve the drippings in a container in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, skim off the fat, and convert the remainder to stock for use in turkey soup or turkey pot pie.
• If you plan to use your garbage disposal to eliminate non-greasy food scraps, run the water in the disposal for 30 seconds after the disposer has cleared the wastes to ensure that the scraps make it out of the house!
• Do not put pumpkin shells, pumpkin guts, or squash guts down the drain. Always dispose of them in the trash.
• Provide extra (or larger) waste containers in the bathroom for added sanitary waste.
• Keep a plunger handy in all bathrooms.
• Clear slow drains before your guests arrive!

If you find yourself in the middle of a plumbing emergency, Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating offers true 24/7 emergency plumbing services year-round. Call us at (617) 362-0377 anytime!

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