The holidays are here again and that means your home is likely going to see a pretty sharp uptick in use over the next few months. Planning on hosting a Christmas party? New Year’s celebrations? Whatever your plans may be, there’s a strong chance your plumbing is going to be getting some extra workload over the next few weeks. With the extra workload comes the increased chance of a potentially serious problem—one of the last things you want to deal with when your schedule is already so full.
If you want to avoid this headache during the upcoming holiday season, it’s easier to do than you may have ever thought. Here are five tips you can follow that will significantly increase your chances of a plumbing emergency and give you a happy and stress-free holiday season.
Insulate Any Exposed Plumbing Lines
Frozen pipes are perhaps the number-one threat to your plumbing during the winter season. When the water in your pipes freezes, it expands. When it expands, it moves to fill any available space in your plumbing line. When there is no available space in your plumbing line, the freezing water puts a significant amount of pressure on both your pipes and any fixtures they may run to. Over time, this could lead to everything from pinhole leaks to small cracks to even catastrophic pipe bursts. Sometimes you’ll know right away, other times you won’t know until the water in your pipes melts again and suddenly water starts leaking everywhere.
A leaking pipe is a serious emergency, no matter how large or small the leak might be. If you want to avoid having to call a plumber for an emergency leak repair, the small investment of time and money in quality plumbing insulation is a no-brainer. Insulation keeps the freezing cold temperatures around your plumbing lines at bay, allowing the water to stay liquid and thus keep your pipes intact.
Only Run a Fully-Loaded Dishwasher
With so many different activities, events, and schedule demands on you during the holiday season, you may be tempted to run your dishwasher as often as possible just to keep up with the dishes you need done. There’s only one problem: not only does this waste water but it also places added strain on your dishwasher. Extra cycles mean extra time for your motors, water jets, and other components to have to run. That means greater added wear, higher utility bills, and even premature appliance failure. Save your dishwasher cycle for when you have a full load and you’ll save significantly on your costs this holiday season.
Be Careful What You Put Down the Drain
Garbage disposals are one of the most common reasons customers have to reach out to a plumber for help after a holiday party is for a garbage disposal problem. Holiday parties often feature a great selection of food, but not all food is safe to throw down your garbage disposal. Certain foods are bad for the disposal itself while many others contribute to obnoxious clogs that can back up or stop your kitchen sink from working entirely. Here are a few types of food to avoid putting down the drain.
Stringy foods: corn husks, asparagus, and celery
Starchy foods: potatoes, cornstarch, flour, powdered sugar
Breads: dinner rolls, sandwich bread, bread crusts
Fats: Bacon grease, turkey or ham drippings, broth scum
Shells: eggshells, nutshells, shrimp shells
Limit Toilet Paper Use
If you have people over to your home, they’re going to need to use your restroom. If they have to use your restroom, they’re probably going to need to use toilet paper. However, too much toilet paper causes clogs, and clogs in your toilet aren’t exactly fun to deal with. Limit your toilet paper use during the holiday season to make life easier for your toilet drains and the added strain they’re going to be under over the holiday vacation. Likewise, don’t be afraid to flush several times in order to make sure your waste completely clears in your drain line.
Cover Outdoor Faucets & Spigots
Outdoor faucets and spigots are also prone to freezing, much like exposed plumbing lines. When they freeze, they can also freeze the water inside the lines they’re connected to, and that leads to frozen pipes that can burst and leak. What’s worse is that most of these water lines are inside your walls, so when they leak you’ll have to tear into your walls to repair them. The easiest way to fix the problem is with a spigot or outdoor faucet cover, which can be easily purchased from nearly any home improvement store for around $10 or so. This small investment could save you big-time when it comes to avoiding a plumbing emergency.
Happy holidays from all of us at BEST Plumbing Service of Cincinnati to all of you and your loved ones! If you’ve got a plumbing problem, give us a call at (513) 342-0323 today.