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Thanksgiving causes 50-percent surge in plumbing calls

Friday, Nov. 29, 2013 5:30 PM
Last updated Saturday, Nov. 30, 2013 1:42 AM
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Thanksgiving isn’t only about clogged arteries and stuffed stomachs.

Plumbers say grease, leftovers and peels that go along with cooking large family meals can stop-up drains, damage disposals and overwork hot water heaters.

Service calls increase on Thanksgiving Day and spike on Black Friday, with business increasing 50 percent over the holiday period from a typical week, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing and Roto-Rooter Plumbers reported.

As of Friday afternoon, Jameila Jones, customer service manager of Universal Plumbing in Augusta, said her staff had already fixed a handful of clogged kitchen drains and that more calls were expected Monday, when households are cleared out and residents begin to report main lines and water heaters that are blocked or broken.

“Try not to think your garbage disposal can eat everything,” Jones said, adding most calls deal with pipes coated with cooking oil or loaded with rice and vegetables. “We recommend a courtesy scrape of your plate in the trash first.”

Roto-Rooter owner David Byrd said Black Friday has become known in the plumbing world as the industry’s single busiest day and that his company plans accordingly, keeping all hands on deck to respond to calls.

“Many homes with moderately clogged drains go unnoticed over time, so when the weekend arrives, the extra kitchen preparations and cleanup, as well as extra guests can overwhelm a plumbing system,” Byrd said in a press release.

As always, Byrd warned resident to know their limits and stay calm in the event of an emergency. He said minor plumbing problems can often turn into plumbing catastrophes if not handled properly.

“It’s just part of life that no one is immune to,” Byrd said of plumbing stoppages.

TIPS TO KEEP THINGS RUNNING SMOOTHLY

• Dispose of oil properly. Never pour cooking oil or fats down your drain. Oil can solidify and clog your line. Pour oil and fat into a container or jar and then dispose of it properly.

• When in doubt, throw it out. Use your garbage can instead of your disposal to get rid of drippings and leftovers. Fats, bones and fibrous foods (like potatoes and celery) can clog or damage your drain and disposal.

• Let the water flow. Run the water from your kitchen sink a few seconds before using your disposal and then again after using the disposal to flush the line.

• Don’t forget your bathroom plumbing. Bathrooms can also be busy places during Thanksgiving with extra visitors and extra use. Try and wait 10 minutes between showers and consider a tankless water heater to have hot water when you need it.

• Keep water dripping from a faucet that’s prone to freezing. Opening a faucet could help provide relief from the excessive pressure that builds between the faucet and the ice blockage when freezing occurs.

• Drain corrosion-causing sediment from water heater tanks. Since your water heater works harder during winter months, this can build-up and might reduce efficiency if it’s not removed.

Source: Benjamin Franklin Plumbing


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