Keep your plumbing unclogged during the holidays

keep-plumbing-uncloggedThe holidays are full of family and food, which can push your home’s plumbing to its limit.

From house guests and unexpected visits to heavy holiday cooking that taxes your kitchen’s pipes, you want to ensure that your bathroom and kitchen plumbing stays clear and works properly.

What can go in the garbage disposal?

Most holiday meal leftovers – especially the smelly ones or liquid – can be easily disposed of in your garbage disposal. But even with a top-of-the-line garbage disposal, there are some foods that should always be avoided:

  • Bones: Turkey and ham bones need to go in the trash. Large bones can break the blades of your garbage disposal and damage your pipes.
  • Celery: Stringy vegetables, like celery and asparagus, can wrap themselves around the garbage disposal blades, restricting their movement.
  • Grease: Grease and oil will create a blockage as it solidifies in the pipes.
  • Pasta and rice: Even if they’re fully cooked, noodles and rice can expand in water, overloading your pipes unexpectedly.
  • Potato peels: Mashed potatoes are great at dinner, but the peels need to go into the trash. Putting your potato peels down the garbage disposal can create a starchy paste that clogs up the system.

How to unclog my garbage disposal

Even if you’re careful, you might find yourself searching through cupboards for your garbage disposal manual and the secret to cleaning it out.

Many models have a manual crank at the bottom. Always use this rather than putting your hand inside the disposal, even if power is disconnected. You can turn the manual crank to loosen a stuck blade. If your garbage disposal turns itself off as a safety feature to avoid damage from clogs, loosen the clog manually, then push the reset button to reengage the machine.

The busiest room in the house

Holiday parties or visiting family members ensure that your bathrooms will be working hard. Before guests arrive, check that the flap in your toilet tank is positioned correctly and there are no water leaks. It’s also a good idea to have a plunger nearby to avoid overflows and toilet clogs.

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