photo of pouring grease down a kitchen sink, don't do this to prevent plumbing problemsIt’s time to learn how to prevent plumbing problems! Often homeowners have a severe plumbing problem during the holidays due to all the extra food-related waste going down the kitchen sink.

To have to call out a plumber during such a busy time of the year can be expensive. Wouldn’t you rather spend that money and time on your family? Then follow these top 5 tips to avoid plumbing problems during the holidays:

1) Don’t treat your garbage disposal unit like Superman.

Superman can take on everything all at once (except kryptonite), but your garbage disposal can’t. So don’t just shove everything down your garbage disposal at once and then turn it on. That’s an expensive breakdown waiting to happen. For instance, my neighbor’s kids put half a pot of spaghetti down the disposal in one big gloopy mess and it required a complete disassembly and purging of the system.

Gradually feed your garbage disposal food so it can easily “digest” everything. This may take more time, but it will prevent needing to call a plumber.

2) Don’t feed your garbage disposal the wrong foods.

Some foods just don’t belong down your kitchen drain.

These include:

  • Pastas (these will expand in water and clog your drains)
  • Celery, potatoes, carrots, corn husks, and other string-fibrous vegetables (the strings can wrap around the garbage disposal blades
  • Bones (even small chicken wing bones will ding or break your garbage disposal blades)
  • Egg shells (when several are mashed up together, they can clog your drain)

When in doubt if something should go down the drain, throw it in the trash can instead.

3) Give grease the boot to the trash can—don’t pour it down the sink.

After cooking meats, you’ll be tempted to send all the grease and oil in the pan to the sink.


Grease, oils, and fats will harden in your drain and clog it. Instead, wipe down the cooking pan with a paper towel. Throw the paper towel away and then wash the pan off.

If you have an excess of grease that can’t be wiped up, you and need to pour it somewhere, absolutely do not pour it down the drain. Instead, grab a glass or ceramic bowl, lay aluminum foil across the bottom of it and pour the extra grease over the foil in the bowl. Set aside to harden. Once the grease has congealed, wrap up the foil around the grease and throw the grease and foil into your trash can.

4) Keep the water running as you use your garbage disposal.

Like drinking water helps you digest your food, running your sink’s faucet will help break up the food in the drain as you use your garbage disposal unit. Keep the water running as you take our advice from the first tip.

5) Use a simple sign to keep your toilet from clogging.

After all this talk about your kitchen, we’d be shortchanging you if we didn’t discuss bathroom plumbing shenanigans.

If you’re having guests stay overnight, there may be someone who throws unflushable items in the toilet. These will easily clog your toilets because they don’t dissolve in water.

These unflushable items include:

  • Facial cleansing pads
  • Cleaning wipes
  • “Flushable” wipes (even though they say they are; they aren’t always flushable)
  • Feminine sanitary products
  • Cotton balls

Talking to holiday guests directly about this may be awkward. So we suggest just putting an easy-to-see sign in your bathroom that discourages throwing those items in the toilet. For instance, the sign might read: “Only toilet paper gets flushed, anything else will clog the drain.”

Prepare for Murphy’s Law

We understand that, as much as you try to prevent plumbing problems this holiday season, one can slip through. It’s Murphy’s Law at its finest: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Prepare for Murphy’s Law and holiday guests by having our contact info, JB Water (480) 969-3193, on hand in case of an emergency.

Or feel to contact us online for any plumbing questions or emergencies.