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Holiday Plumbing Problems


The holidays are filled with family, food and fun — and all the hustle and bustle can put your plumbing system under a lot of extra stress. How can you avoid the damage, disorder and disruption caused by the failure of your plumbing appliances? Learn below about some of the most common holiday plumbing disasters, and what you can do to prevent them!

Disposal Drama

Honey glazed ham, green bean casserole, sweet potato pie…Food is the focal point of holiday gatherings. And the last thing you want to happen is a garbage disposal clog when you’ve only halfway done the dishes. You can help prevent tough clogs, broken blades and major headaches by learning more about what foods are safe to feed your disposal. To prevent damage to your unit, you should avoid jam hazards such as bones, egg shells and fruit pits — as well as cumulative cloggers such as oils, fats, potato peels and coffee grounds. And remember, “When in doubt, throw it out!”

Toilet Troubles

Entertaining family and friends is many homeowner’s favorite part of the holidays. But more houseguests means more toilet traffic. And a stubborn toilet clog is never the right way to start your Christmas morning. You can prevent these clogs by leaving a small garbage can next to your toilet, so your guests won’t feel tempted to flush cotton balls, baby wipes and other un-flushables. You should also consider keeping your toilet lid shut to keep medicine bottles, soap bars and other small toiletries from slipping in. Too often, people take their chances on flushing these items before sticking their hand in the toilet to retrieve them (ew!). And don’t forget to always keep a plunger nearby!

Dishwasher Dysfunction

Did we mention food is a big deal during the holidays? That means your dishwasher will be working double duty. And if you’re entertaining houseguests, it will be working triple-duty! Nobody wants to spend hours after Christmas dinner hand-washing cookware, flatware and glassware from a family-sized feast! You can prevent the inconvenience of a dishwasher breakdown by loading it properly. And while it’s very tempting, don’t load your dishwasher past capacity when you’re cleaning up after a long meal. Not only can overloading your dishwasher prevent dishes from being cleaned thoroughly enough, it can divert water to the bottom of the tank, causing leaks under the door — not to mention unnecessary wear and tear on your unit! Instead of crowding your dishwasher with extra dishes, divide your extra-large loads between two washes. Your dishwasher will thank you later.

Washer Woes

And an unexpected washing machine breakdown will not only make cleaning your clothes a major hassle — it may keep you from sporting your favorite holiday threads! You can be proactive about preventing this problem by maintaining your washer. Run a cycle with washing machine cleaner at least once a year to remove accumulating buildup and odors. And if you have a front loader, consider leaving the door open between washes to allow the tub to air out. While you’re at it, remember to clean your lint ttrap regularly. Not only will you help your dryer dry your clothes more quickly, you’ll prevent fire hazards caused by its motor overheating.

Water Heater Worries

Your home’s water heater may be the most crucial part of your plumbing system during the cold winter months. It affects nearly every household activity, from cleaning to cooking to bathing. Given its everyday importance, it’s not hard to imagine all the ways that water heater failure can derail your holiday at home! It’s important to recognize the warning signs of water heater failure. Keep an ear open for banging or popping noises and an eye out for rusty or leaking water around your unit. Recognizing these early signs might mean the difference between a timely repair and total replacement. To keep your water heater working optimally, remember to schedule preventative maintenance at least once a year. If you experiencing problems with a unit that is 10 years or older, you might consider replacing it.

While preventative maintenance is the key to preventing holiday plumbing disasters, you should still know who to call in case of an emergency. ARS®/Rescue Rooter’s® emergency plumbers are available 7 days a week to help you out of a soggy situation — on the weekends, and even on holidays! If and when disaster strikes, we can schedule an appointment that works for your schedule or dispatch a plumber to your home right away. Give us a call at 1-800-277-9400.

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