When the holiday season rolls around, many people are worried about buying presents and putting up decorations. However, have you thought about your plumbing system? If you plan on entertaining at your home over the holiday season, there are some necessary steps that you’ll want to take to successfully prepare your plumbing for the higher traffic demand.
Turn Off Your Hose Piping
Before the freezing cold weather hits, you should turn the valve off for your outdoor water. Make sure that you adequately drain the pipe and your hose. If you don’t want to go through the trouble of shutting off your water valve or you want to be able to use water outside in the wintertime, consider installing a frost-free valve. This will prevent that pipe from freezing up when the temperature dips down below freezing.
Protect Your Shower Drains
If you’re going to have an influx of people staying at your home, then you need to help protect your shower. It’s a good idea to use a drain strainer to collect unwanted debris, like loose hair and soap scrum. If this debris is left to wash down your drain, it can actually lead to clogs. No one wants to deal with drain clogs when they have a bunch of house guests.
Clean and Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal
The holiday season usually means a lot of household cooking. To prepare your kitchen for the many meals that you’ll be making, you want to focus on your garbage disposal. It’s a good idea to pour a cup full of distilled white vinegar into your garbage disposal.
Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes, and then flush it out with a minute or two of hot running water. Another great addition to keep your garbage disposal smelling fresh is to put half of a lemon down into it. Make sure that you’re always letting the water run for at least 15 seconds after you use your garbage disposal to help flush down any leftover debris so that it doesn’t create any nasty odors in your kitchen.
Have Grease Containers Ready
One common theme of holiday cooking is the rushed feeling of trying to feed everyone. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads homeowners to skip past necessary safety tips when it comes to their garbage disposal to save time. Do yourself a favor and prepare so that you don’t do anything you know that you’re not supposed to.
Grease, oils, and similar products can be the perfect way to start unwanted clogs in your plumbing. It’s highly recommended that you put out some containers by your stove or sink to catch unwanted grease and oils from your cooking. By simply having the containers there, it will likely prevent anyone from pouring these unwanted substances down your drain.
Fix Any Running Water Issues
It’s not uncommon for sinks and toilets to develop small leaks over time. It’s easy to ignore these problems while they’re small. However, excess traffic in your home can make these issues even bigger. Take a few moments and walk through your home testing all your water sources. If you notice any leaks or running toilets, they should be fixed by a professional before they get worse.
Keep Garbage Out of Your Toilets
One major cause of many holiday plumbing issues is flushing the wrong items down your toilet. While you may have made it a habit to never flush anything other than toilet paper down the drain, others may not abide by the same rules at their homes. For this reason, you should ensure that guests know your policies and have alternative options.
First and foremost, put a garbage can with a lid in a convenient location in your bathroom. This will help to ensure that guests have a place to dispose of non-flushable items. Next, consider printing out small signs that will help to remind those using your bathrooms that you have a garbage can for non-flushable items. Don’t forget to add a plunger to each bathroom.
Turn Up Your Water Heater Thermostat
While your water heater may produce just the right amount of hot water for your family, it can become overwhelmed with more people in your home over the holidays. It’s a good idea to prep for your extra guests by increasing the temperature on your water heater’s thermostat by a few degrees. This will help to deliver more hot water for things like showers and dishwashing.
Require Time Between Showers
Another great way that you can drastically reduce your risk of experiencing any plumbing problems while you have guests over is to require time between showers. A good 15 minutes between showers will help to give your water time to heat and the drain enough time to clear.
Get Your Septic Tank Pumped
Most experts recommend having your septic tank pumped every three to five years. The frequency is going to vary depending on a number of issues, like the number of people living in your home. If you’re getting close to the three-year mark, it’s a good idea to call and have your septic system pumped by a licensed professional. This will help to prevent any backups from happening during your holiday get-togethers.
Ensure Exposed Pipes Are Insulated
As the holiday season approaches, the weather is getting a lot colder. If your area of the country experiences below-freezing temperatures, then it’s necessary that you insulate any exposed piping. This piping can be in your garage or another open area.
There are a few different ways to insulate your pipes. You can opt for insulation sleeves, which are simple foam sleeves with a slit that allows you to easily slide them over your existing piping. There is also thermal tape that can be wrapped around exposed plumbing to protect it against freezing. You can also use heated wraps that will monitor the temperature of the pipe and provide heat when temperatures get close to freezing.
Clean Your Showerheads and Faucet Aerators
Over time, hard water scaling can create white patches on all of your showerheads and faucets. If left go too long, this hard water buildup can actually hinder the flow of water out of your fixtures. It’s good practice to pull your showerheads and aerators off of your faucets at least once a year and give them a good scrubbing to remove the stuck-on hard water scaling.
Do Your Annual Water Heater Flush
It’s highly recommended that your water heater be flushed at least once a year. This helps to remove any hard water and sediment buildup that can lead to unwanted interior corrosion of your water heater. By flushing your water heater before your guests arrive, you can ensure that your water heater is working efficiently and that there won’t be any sediment flowing out of your water.
Helpful Plumbing Services
Black-Haak offers helpful plumbing services for the Fox Valley, WI area. We can also help with all of your heating, cooling, electrical, indoor air quality, home protection, commercial, heat pump, and ductless mini-split needs. Be sure to contact Black-Haak today to schedule your next service appointment.