Thanksgiving Can Put A Strain On Your Plumbing

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) 288-2911 anytime!

Get Ready For Holiday Plumbing Emergencies

According to Angie’s List, plumbers are the most searched-for service providers on Thanksgiving. There’s no hard evidence to prove it, but the number of increased visitors often put stress on plumbing systems, and can lead to a Boston plumbing emergency just when you need it least – during a holiday! Here are a few tips to help you avoid plumbing problems during the holiday season.

Drains: If you plan to have a large holiday gathering at your home, make sure your drains are running clearly before your guests arrive. Clogged drains can lead to sink overflows and unpleasant odors at a time when you need your plumbing to be in tip-top shape. Most drain clogs are made from organic matter – either food particles in kitchen drains or hair and soap buildup in the bathroom drains. Drain cleaners you buy in the stores contain lye and other harsh chemicals that can burn skin on contact. We recommend using a drain cleaning product called Bio-Clean. Bio-Clean is an enzymatic drain cleaner that doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, but can clear organic matter in your drains. Add Bio-Clean to your drains the night before your guests arrive and your drains will run clear during your big event. We carry Bio-Clean. Please contact us for more information on this product.

Toilets: Toilet clogs usually don’t happen for the same reason that drain clogs do. Toilet clogs are usually the result of too much paper and material in the bowl. Inefficient siphoning can also result in clogs. You can’t really control what your guest do, but you can make sure that your toilet is in good working order before your company arrives. Check the operation of the flapper valve in your toilet and make sure your tank fills completely when you flush it. If you’re concerned about the volume of toilet paper in your bowl, or if your toilet typically doesn’t manage a lot of toilet paper well, consider replacing your premium toilet paper with paper that isn’t as thick to help ensure a proper flush.

Faucets: Faucets can start leaking, and leaks can get worse with increased use. If you have a leaking faucet, address it before your guests arrive. Some leaks can be fixed simply by tightening the connections or sealing joints with Teflon tape, but overtightening connections can actually break the fixture. If your fixture is leaking because it’s broken or cracked, replace it.

In the interest of prevention, check the local shut-off valves for each fixture. If the shutoff doesn’t work, or can’t be turned easily, replace it. Also check your dishwasher connections, including the drain hose to be sure water can enter and exit the appliance freely. As a final precaution, you should know how to shut off the main water valve in your home, and keep the number of your local plumber handy, just in case! In Boston, Boston Standard Plumbing offers 24-hour emergency service, including holiday service. Contact us at (617) 288-2911 anytime, and have a happy holiday season. Friend us on Facebook!

Finding A Reputable Plumber

Let’s face it: no one calls a plumber until they have to, but when you need plumbing help, you generally need assistance fast! How can you find a reputable plumber? Boston residents have a lot of plumbers to choose from, and that can make finding a good contractor even more difficult. Here are a few suggestions for finding a plumber in Boston that may make your life easier when it comes time to calling for help.

1. Do your homework. Look for plumbers, heating and cooling contractors, and general handyman services before you need them. You can use referral services like Angie’s List to find recommended Boston plumbers. Check references, verify the business’ standing with the Better Business Bureau and verify that any prospective contractors are licensed and insured. When the pressure is off, call for information about pricing, after-hours services, and regular maintenance services that you might be interested in.

2. Figure out what you’re most likely to need. You may have immediate needs for maintenance, replacement or repair on your major systems, or you may not know exactly what services you may need from plumbing, heating or cooling professionals. Once you’ve found a contractor you might want to work with, invite the contractor to your home for a system inspection. The contractor can give you a better idea of the age and condition of your plumbing, heating and cooling systems.

3. Shop around and ask questions about the contractor’s on-call services, hourly rates, dispatch times, staff credentials and more. When you call the contractor after hours, do you speak with the contractor or do you get routed to an answering service? Does the contractor offer any package services or service plans that can help reduce your costs, especially in an emergency?

The best approach is to make decisions about contractors when you have no immediate or urgent need for services. That way, you can take the time to review a contractor’s credentials, reviews from other customers, and ask friends and neighbors for their input. You can also take time to think about what you need (or might need) and make your choices accordingly.

Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating is a proud member of Angie’s List, and was voted the Best of Boston 2010 for heating and cooling services. We offer a wide range of plumbing, heating and cooling services in Boston. Call us at (617) 288-2911 for a consultation on all of your heating, cooling and plumbing needs. Friend Boston Standard Plumbing on Facebook and learn why we’re one of the best in Boston!