I recently read that one of the busiest days for plumbers nationwide was the day after Thanksgiving. And when I stopped to think about it, I wasn’t surprised. Over the holidays families and friends gather together, some visiting for over night (or even through the weekend!) stays. With multiple people running hot water, toilets flushing multiple times more than usual, and lots of dishes to do, it’s inevitable that this puts a strain on the plumbing.
These things can’t be changed. However, if you want to have a less stressful Black Friday next year, consider sending out a reminder for your customers on key tips for keeping plumbing running smoothly. You could send it out with winterization reminders earlier in the Autumn, or shoot over an email a week or two before the holidays are upon us.
I grew up without a garbage disposal. We were on septic, and garbage disposals were deemed “bad” by my parents. That’s another blog topic for another day though. When I got my first apartment I never used the garbage disposal, although my roommate did. It was foreign to me, and I had seen too many horror movies go awry by a hand getting stuck in there. (Don’t worry–I’ve come to terms with the fact that’s far-fetched at best.) I lived on my own in a small studio for some years, in a historic district in town. Needless to say, this historic building was less than impressive when it came to utilities. It was part of the charm. Poor insulation, possible asbestos ceiling, no garbage disposals….quaint. So finally, when I moved into an updated home several years ago, I moved in with no background of how a garbage disposal works, with two roommates who probably thought I was insane. I shoved everything in the garbage disposal. And yes, I was nearly 30 years old. Potato skins? Why not! Rice? Absolutely! This weird piece of chicken fat and meat gristle? Sure! And….this is how I learned garbage disposals did…and did not work. Sitting beside my roommate on the kitchen floor while he mumbled indistinct words under his breath within days of me moving in showed me, No. The garbage disposal is actually not a garbage. (Thank goodness for licensed plumber roommates.)
Without further ado, here’s some tips for your customers if they happen to be anything like me!
On the 8th day of Christmas, My true love gave to me A List of Things to Not Put Down the Drain
- Things that aren’t food. No rubber bands, no plastic twist-tops, no bottle caps or string. No glass. No paper or cigarette butts. No plastic. Is it food? If the answer is no, don’t put it down there.
- Grease, oil, fat. They solidify and clog drains.
- Starchy vegetables, like potato skins. They create one big starchy mass that stops up everything!
- Stringy vegetables, like celery or rhubarb. These can easily get caught around the blades. Garbage disposal blades are not the sharpest blades typically–when they spin they just further entangle the stringiness of these type of vegetables.
- Rice, Pasta, bread–Just like potatoes and other starches, these make a thick mass, impenetrable to even the best of garbage disposals.
- Coffee Grounds. Leave these for the compost or the trash can. These accumulate slowly and act as a mud in the drain. Does it appear like the grounds are running down smoothly? Let me assure you, they aren’t.
- Bones. Gristle. Chicken Skin. Basically meat has a tendency to get caught up in the garbage disposal. Not only that, you’ll damage the blades with bones and they’re likely to get caught in the disposal, jamming it. Fish bones are closer to being safe, but the smell can linger longer than if you take the bones immediately to the trash can outside.
- Fruit seeds/pits. These just won’t get chomped up by the disposal. And please, please don’t try to fit cherry pits down the small opening of drains like I did when I was a kid.