Ask any plumber what the busiest day of the year is for their business, and you’ll hear the same answer: “The day after Thanksgiving.” While most people think of this day as “Black Friday,” when special sales bring holiday shoppers flooding through the doors, for plumbers this is “Grease Friday,” when homeowners are dealing with the consequences of kitchen plumbing that couldn’t handle the chores of Thursday night’s feasting.
Although we’re glad to have your business, we know you don’t want to spend part of your holiday weekend calling a plumber in Fontana, CA to fix clogged drains. We want to help you avoid this sort of trouble, and we have a few steps and precautions to follow that will help make this Thanksgiving as trouble-free as possible. (Sorry we can’t help you with great turkey-cooking tips!)
- Keep FOG out of the drains: FOG stands for fats, oils, and grease. These three are the evil trio that can wreck your drainage system during Thanksgiving, where there’s plenty of the three as a result of cooking. When FOG is hot, it’s a liquid, which can trick you into thinking it’s harmless to put down the drain or the garbage disposal. It’s not! As soon as these liquids cool down, they become waxy solids that can gum up the disposal and clog the drains. Pour these liquids into a separate container, put the container in the freezer, then dispose of it in the trash later on.
- Don’t force excess food into the drain: Make sure you don’t put too much food down the disposal at one time. It’s not an invincible device that can handle too much at once.
- Bones don’t go in the disposal either: All those turkey bones should go into plastic bags and then taken to the trash—your disposal cannot grind them down. (In general, a good rule to follow is that if you can’t chew something with your teeth, it doesn’t go in the disposal. E.g. fruit pits, unpopped popcorn kernels, etc.)
- Watch out for stringy vegetables and onion peels: These stringy foods can easily become caught in the mechanism of the garbage disposal and break it. And watch out for rice, pasta, and coffee grounds as well, which are also damaging to a disposal.
- Keep the water running: No, not all the time, of course. We mean when you’re washing down the drains or the disposal. Keep hot water going down the drains for about 60 seconds to ensure you send as much waste as possible down the drain line. And always run water when the disposal is turned on.
You might also read in some places that putting ice cubes down the disposal and running it will help sharpen the blades. This is nonsense: there are no blades in the disposal. A garbage disposal has blunt impellers that hurl food into an outer grind ring. Ice cubes are too hard for the disposal and may potentially damage it. If your disposal isn’t grinding down food the way it should, call for a plumber to repair or replace it.