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How to Avoid a Holiday Plumbing Emergency

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The holidays are almost here again, and that means there’s a good chance your home may be about to face some additional stress over the next few months. Hosting holiday parties, extra hours indoors due to the weather, and kids taking additional time off school for their vacation are all reasons why your plumbing will see a lot of extra use, and that means you’re more likely to need an emergency repair when you least expect it.

Nobody wants to have to deal with the stress or strain of a plumbing issue in the middle of their holiday party or when their schedule is so cramped they simply don’t have the ability to deal with it properly. However, emergencies are not unpredictable or unpreventable. In fact, a number of common holiday plumbing problems can be avoided with careful preparation and taking a few extra precautionary steps. Here are a few tips for avoiding a plumbing emergency and a safer and more enjoyable holiday season.

Know What Not to Put Down the Drain

Your garbage disposal will become your best friend over the course of the holidays, particularly if you’re hosting Thanksgiving or another festivity. It’s by far the easiest, fastest, and safest way of disposing of your food waste. It helps keep pests like insects and rodents out of your home, and it even helps keep household odors away. However, it can’t handle anything and everything in terms of food waste, so you need to be careful with what you put through it.

Some types of foods are prone to causing issues for your garbage disposal while many other types of foods are prone to causing clogs and blockages in the drain line leading from your garbage disposal. These blockages and clogs are particularly tedious because they are difficult to access, and often require a specialized clog removal service.

Some of these types of foods include:

  • Food shells: Shrimp shells, eggshells, peanut shells, etc.
  • Stringy foods: Asparagus, corn husks, celery
  • Starchy foods: potatoes, potato skins, potato salad, anything with a high flour or grain content
  • Breads: Dinner rolls, flour, leftover dough
  • Fats: Bacon grease, turkey drippings, roast drippings, gravy

Would you believe us if we told you that the busiest day of the year for plumbers is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving? Garbage disposal issues are the number one reason why. By being careful to avoid putting risky foods down the drain, you’ll enjoy a system that works properly and a stress-free plumbing system this holiday season.

Flush Your Water Heater

Now is the perfect time to flush out your water heater and remove any built-up dirt and sediment that may have accumulated at the bottom of your tank. Flushing your water heater is fairly simple—all you need is a long garden hose and a decent-sized bucket. Shut off your water heater (but leave the water connection open), connect the garden hose to the output tap on the outside, and then open the tap to let the water start spilling out. Every minute or so, partially fill the bucket and check the bottom to see if any loose sediment or dirt is present. If so, let the water heater continue to drain and flush through. Once the water samples you’re testing are coming out clean, shut off the tap, turn the water heater back on, and give the tank a chance to refill and reheat.

Flushing your water heater actually restores some of your water heater’s volume by getting rid of the layer of sediment that commonly builds up in most tanks. Likewise, removing this sediment layer allows for better heat transfer and a more efficient heater all winter long.

Know the Signs of a Dangerous Leak

Plumbing leaks can happen at any time, and they never seem to happen at a time that’s convenient for you. What’s perhaps the most inconvenient time of the entire year? During the holidays, when your schedule is already packed with commitments. Nobody wants to come home to find that their floor has been destroyed by a leak or a mold colony has been growing in their laundry closet due to a slow drip for the past several months.

Here’s the thing about plumbing leaks: if you know what to look for, you’ll be able to spot them quickly. If you spot any of these things in your home, call a plumber and have them check it out right away—you could save yourself a lot of time and hassle getting it fixed.

  • Wet floors. Obviously a wet floor near a faucet or in the bathroom has an explanation, but what about one in the middle of your living room? In a bedroom, nowhere near water? Does the wet spot go away after a while or seem to always be there? If there’s no good explanation for it, you probably have a leak.
  • Warm spots in your floor: Is there a spot on your floor that feels warm under foot? This is a sign that one of your hot water lines could have a leak.
  • Stained ceilings: Does it look like a certain spot on your ceiling is wet? Is this spot between your first and second floors? Has it not rained recently, and yet the spot continues to be there? This is probably a broken water or drain line—call and have it inspected right away.
  • Mold or mildew smells: Does it smell like mold or mildew somewhere in your home? This is a sign of stagnant water and carbon-based material, usually the result of a leak.

Want to avoid the hassle of a plumbing emergency this holiday season? Schedule a maintenance service with the pros at Moe Plumbing, Inc. Dial (818) 396-8002 to schedule yours today.

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