With holiday preparations in full swing, you have enough going on without worrying about plumbing problems.
While we don’t get a huge amount of cold weather, there are days that drop below freezing that can cause plumbing problems with your pipes.
During the holidays, drains take a lot of beating with extra guests and cooking. To quote Ben Franklin himself, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
The following are some ideas for preventing the most common holiday plumbing problems. However, remember that, in the face of major issues, it’s always best to contact a professional plumber right away.
Check your toilet’s flapper valve
Holiday parties mean extra houseguests and that means extra wear and tear on the toilets. A common problem occurs when the flapper valve wears out, which means the toilet will constantly refill. Not only is it annoying, but you’re also wasting water, which makes for a higher water bill.
Check your flapper valve for wear and replace it if necessary before it starts running.
Keep pipes from freezing
Frozen water pipes aren’t a huge problem in Arizona, but it only takes once for freezing weather to wreak havoc on your pipes. If you are going out of town, make sure to keep the heaters on.
Put a styrofoam insulated cover over their outdoor spigots to avoid a possible burst. Another option to prevent frozen pipes: keep a drip going from the faucet. Moving water is less likely to freeze.
Maintain your garbage disposal
When you run your garbage disposal a lot, you could end up with some clogs. Also, try not to throw things like potato skins and egg shells down the drain. Grease can also leave a film over the blades, diminishing their effectiveness.
If your disposal won’t reset, you can unplug it and use an Allen wrench to loosen the blade so that whatever’s jammed inside comes loose. Use pliers to remove blockages — never stick your hand into the garbage disposal.
Fix or prevent common dishwasher problems
The last thing you want is a stack of holiday dishes piling up. That’s exactly what will happen if you don’t maintain your dishwasher properly.
If water isn’t draining properly, check the drain trap for food, plastic or other debris.
If your dishes aren’t getting as clean as they once were, make sure the spinning arm is free from obstacles, that it turns freely on its bearing and that its spray holes aren’t clogged with mineral deposits.
Schedule your hot water use
With visitors in town and extra holiday cooking, your hot water usage can quickly escalate. Make sure your water heater is in good condition. Schedule cooking, dishwashing, showering and laundry so you level out your hot water usage throughout the day. Morning and bedtime tend to be the times when water usage is highest. Showers will use the hot water more slowly.
Develop a relationship with your plumber
In the event something happens to your plumbing, it’s a good idea to have a relationship with your plumber ahead of time. She or he will learn what kinds of plumbing problems you’ve had in the past and possibly predict or prevent future problems.
The best thing you can do is find a plumber or a drain cleaning company before you need one.
Research ahead of time so you know what charges to expect and ask about emergency service and holiday work.
Linda Stanfield has been offering plumbing services across the Valley for 31 years. She is the only plumber in the state to have won the BBB Ethics Award three times. As a plumbing leader in the valley, she can also be found on TV and YouTube sharing and helping consumers with their plumbing needs.
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