You spend weeks planning for houseguests and get-togethers during the holidays, but you should also plan for the additional burden that will be placed on your home’s plumbing to ensure that you won’t be adding an emergency plumber to your guest list.
The first step to ensure that your plumbing and water heater are up to the task is to think about the last time they were inspected by a professional. If it’s been a few years, you probably want to go ahead and schedule a service. Doing this in advance is certainly much more convenient than making an emergency call when your mother-in-law is taking an icy shower.
If you have a drain that is already slow, fix it now or have a professional do it. The drastic increase in use is likely to cause it to stop draining altogether, not something you’ll want to deal with when you have guests.
Now that you’ve been as proactive as you can be, here are some ways to prevent an unexpected plumbing disaster:
- Never put grease, meat, cheese, stringy foods such as celery, or potato and carrot peels down the garbage disposal. They will cause clogs or locked disposals. Put them into a grease can or the trash. If it’s hard to remember, keep a trashcan or large trash bowl close to food prep areas for convenience and gentle reminders.
- Place a trashcan in every bathroom to help guests avoid the temptation of flushing tissues, wipes, cotton balls, or anything else you don’t want in your pipes.
- Turn your water heater up a few degrees to ensure enough hot water for extra showers and loads of dishes and laundry. Just be careful not to set it over 125 degrees, and turn it back down after guests leave.
- Clean showerheads and faucets with vinegar to remove hard water buildup so that guests enjoy strong water streams instead of trickles.
- Try to spread out showers over the course of the day to give your water heater a chance to recover and provide enough warm water for everyone. If possible, run the dishwasher and the washing machine overnight.
When there are 20 guests in your house for a wonderful holiday celebration, you don’t want a clogged sink or toilet, or a cold shower, to put a damper on everyone’s holiday cheer. So when you are making your to-do list, make sure that a plumbing check-up is near the top, and have a happy holiday.