Avoid These Thanksgiving Drain Disasters


(Editor’s Note: This blog was originally posted in November 2014, but has been updated to reflect current information and tips.)

With the all of the food and company that comes with Thanksgiving, it’s no wonder that the day after is one of the busiest days of the year for plumbers. At TLC Plumbing, we’ve seen it all and are here to help you avoid some of the drain mistakes Americans make every year. You can save your plumber a visit by taking a few preventative measures this holiday season.

Fat and Oil Sink Clogs

The Problem: There’s a reason why Thanksgiving dinner is so delicious – all of the foods are usually cooked with fat and oil! There’s nothing wrong with this…until it gets washed down the drain. When you rinse off your pots and pans in the sink, you’re risking getting those fats and oils stuck to the inside of the pipes, often leading to clogs.

How to Avoid It: You can easily steer clear of this disaster by pouring oils and fats used for cooking into the trash. If it’s still too hot to go into the trashcan safely, you can pour the oil/fat into a jar or a pan until it can be properly disposed of. Ideally, you want to minimize the amount of fat that goes down your drain, so it’s a good idea to also wipe down your greasy pans before you rinse them off in the sink.

You might think that if you use hot enough water, the grease will liquefy and go straight down the drain. While it’s true that the oils will liquefy, as it cools, it becomes a solid again. In fact the grease will build up over time layer over layer. So even if you don’t have a problem today, you’re creating one for yourself down the road.

Garbage Disposal Clogs

The Problem: Garbage disposals are the unsung heroes of Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, they’re not built to accommodate certain foods. Disposals can get clogged by foods like onion peels, celery, pasta, and potatoes (and their peels!). Bones can also cause serious problems – so find somewhere else to dispose of that wishbone!

How to Avoid It: To avoid a garbage disposal disaster, scrape off excess food into the trash first. Make sure cold water is running! It helps your disposal work its best. Much of the pipe material in our city is similar to cast iron and with years of wear, the pipes become rusted, which creates a sandpaper-like surface. So even the small bits of leftover turkey on your plate could get caught and create a drain problem. Really, the garbage disposal should only be used for the bare minimum things left over on your plate. You can easily clog your sink by throwing everything down the drain.

The Dreaded Toilet Clog

The Problem: With family members visiting, your bathroom is going to get more use. If family members are flushing the wrong things down the toilet, this can lead to a clog that a plunger may not be able to fix.

How to Avoid It: Toilets are not designed to flush Kleenex, napkins, or pumpkin pie. Only flush toilet paper to avoid clogs! Also, if you know you have an older house or have experienced problems in your drain line in the past, you may want to have your drain line cleared and maintained before the holidays. You can avoid any unexpected, expensive drain problems and enjoy your holiday instead.

If you are experiencing a plumbing problem this holiday season, you will need the fastest response in town; TLC Plumbing is here for when you need us. We will have plumbers on call to respond throughout the holiday and weekend. Contact us today to schedule your service visit, or call us if you have a plumbing emergency