Common Plumbing Issues During the Holidays and How to Prevent Them

Holidays are a time many people look forward to. Homes are often filled with extended family and friends gathering around home-cooked meals. It’s a time for stories to be told and memories created.

However, one memory you’ll probably want to avoid is an untimely appliance malfunction while trying to replicate your great aunt’s famous apple cobbler or hosting your in-laws for the first time.

The fact of the matter is, while holidays are a time to be enjoyed, this time of year can often put additional stress on your home’s plumbing system. Being aware of the potential problems you could run into and know how to prevent them is key to ensuring your festivities go off without a hitch. Discover the common plumbing issues during the holidays and how to prevent them.

Plumbing Repair/Service Issues You Might Run Into Around the Holidays

Indoor plumbing is something almost everyone in this modern world depends on. You may not give it a lot of thought, but when there is a plumbing issue, it’s noticed fast. Getting the necessary repairs done promptly is even more important when you’re hosting guests.

You don’t want plumbing problems to put a damper on what should be joyous and memorable times with family and friends. With that said, here are some common plumbing issues that might occur during the holiday season and ways you can prevent them:

Lack of Hot Water

You may have out of town visitors staying at your home during the holidays. While this can be incredibly fun, it does present some added logistical challenges including more people using your home’s showers than usual. This places an increased demand on your home’s hot water heater(s), so you’ll want to make sure it’s in optimal shape beforehand.

To service your hot water heater, you may need to check for leaks and/or build up of mineral deposits inside the water heater which can reduce its capacity. The latter can often be solved by having a plumbing repair/service professional flush the tank. Make sure all your guests are able to have a hot shower while staying at your home and service your water heater beforehand.

Clogged Toilets

More occupants in your home means more people using your bathrooms. Therefore, the likelihood that someone will flush something they’re not supposed to down your toilet is higher (especially when small children are visiting). A good way to prevent this from happening is providing a waste basket in a clearly visible spot and reminding guests (either verbally or in writing) to only flush human waste and toilet paper down the toilet.

In the event your toilet does become clogged, it’s a good idea to have a plunger or auger on hand and know how to use these tools. Sometimes, a clog does require the help of a professional – in which case our team is ready and able to get the job done for you.

A Toilet That Won’t Stop Running

Clogging isn’t the only plumbing issue that can occur with toilets. With more people than normal using your bathrooms, the toilet is likely to be flushed more often. This can potentially lead to the flapper in the back of the toilet losing its ability to maintain a full seal, therefore causing the toilet to run constantly.

In turn, this causes noise disturbance, a higher risk for clogs, and an increased water bill. To fix this issue, a plumbing repair/service technician will have to install a new flapper so the seal can be restored.

Sewer Line Blockage

The most dreaded scenario while hosting guests is probably having your sewer or septic system back up into your home due to a blockage or some other issue. It’s vital to make sure your sewer lines are clear, or the septic tank isn’t too full, and all toilets are in proper functioning order before family and friends arrive. This includes checking the toilets in your guest bathrooms that may not have been used in a while.

If you’re concerned about sewer problems during the holidays, have a professional plumbing service/repair technician come out and inspect your sewer lines and systems for any signs of damage well in advance.

Frozen Pipes

Many holidays occur during winter. While the holidays don’t necessarily increase your risk of freezing pipes, having it occur while you’re trying to cook, or host is especially inconvenient. Therefore, if you live in an area where temps get downright cold, it’s important to know how to prevent pipe freezes.

To keep your water flowing as it should, make sure your home is well heated. Also, keep cabinets open in kitchens and bathrooms where there is piping underneath so warm air can reach those areas easier. It may be wise to let your water drip, especially at night, as moving water is less likely to freeze. Last but not least, if you are the one traveling for a holiday, make sure you don’t turn off your heat completely before taking a trip in the winter – you may just come home to a frozen pipe issue that requires plumbing repair/service.

Slow Draining Sinks

If your sink is already slow to drain for any reason, whether it be a leaky faucet or clogged drain/pipes, it’s best to have the problem remedied before you have guests over. An already bothersome issue can become quite the inconvenience if more people are using sinks and you need them to drain after each use.

To prevent this situation, make sure the drains are clear of debris such as hair and grease. You may also have your home’s plumbing system inspected for potentially tree root damage if your drains are clear and you’re not sure why your sinks are holding water.

Backed Up Garbage Disposal

Holidays often mean more cooking, especially meals that aren’t commonly made. Having things like bones, grease, and fibrous fruits and vegetables sent down the sink can easily lead to your kitchen sink and/or garbage disposal getting backed up.

To prevent a burdensome clog situation, it’s best to make sure larger pieces of waste end up in the garbage and grease/oil is kept from going down the drain. When in doubt, use the trash can instead of the garbage disposal and don’t assume your garbage disposal can stand up to anything. If you are going to send waste items down the garbage disposal, make sure to run cold water the entire time the disposal is turned on, and for about 30 seconds afterwards.

When there is a clog, some homeowners may be inclined to try to fix the problem themselves with an auger. However, if this proves too difficult, our professionals are on standby to get your sink back in working order quickly.

Clogged Shower Drains

Like your water heater, your shower drains may experience the effects of more people showing than normal in your home. This may lead to shower drain clogs that can be especially burdensome. To prevent unnecessary headaches, make sure your shower drains are cleared and cleaned before guests arrive, and use a drain screen to ensure debris such as hair doesn’t get trapped.

Dishwasher Malfunctions

More guests means more plates at the table. While feeding your family and friends can be immensely enjoyable and fulfilling, it’s a lot of work too. After dinner, there is usually a mountain of plates, silverware, pots, and pans, and more. You may be inclined to run your dishwasher more often than normal or load it up more than you typically would. This extra strain may bring about drainage issues with your dishwasher and backups into your sink.

To prevent such issues, wash as many dishes as possible by hand and scrape all food off plates and dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. Also, don’t overload the dishwasher in an attempt to run it fewer times. Rather, run it with manageable loads.

Chemical Cleaner Mishaps

In the event your drains become clogged or, try to avoid grabbing a bottle of chemical drain cleaner and dumping it down your sink or shower. This can often have more repercussions than it’s worth.

Not only is handling chemical drain cleaners a concern due to their ability to cause burns and blisters on your skin, but it can contribute to erosion in your pipes leading to premature failure. Instead, opt for manual methods of clearing a clog such as a plunger or auger. And if that’s not an option, call your plumbing repair/service professionals for help.

When Prevention Isn’t Enough and You Need Plumbing Repair/Service

The holiday season is a time you want to look back on fondly. Don’t let pesky, unexpected plumbing issues overshadow your good time with family and friends. A bit of maintenance and prevention can go a long way in making sure you don’t run into a plumbing mishap amid the hustle and bustle. Reach out to the professionals at Bell Bros for all your plumbing needs.