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The day after Thanksgiving is busy for plumbers, so here’s how to avoid that messy call

"It's usually the busiest time of the year."

The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day for plumbers.


DAYTON, Ohio — The holiday sales come each year after Thanksgiving. And so do the calls for a plumber.

“It’s usually the busiest time of the year,” said Wesley Swearingen, manager of the drain department at Korrect Plumbing, which serves the Dayton region.

Grease down the drain, extra guests using the bathroom, and more can all cause plumbing problems and lead to the predictable annual spike in calls for professional help.

Roto-Rooter reports the company typically sees a 50 percent increase in call volume over an average Friday and a 21 percent uptick in business over any other four-day weekend period.

“Extra guests mean more flushes, showers, dishwashing and laundry, all of which greatly increases the chance of a plumbing or drain failure,” said Paul Abrams, Roto-Rooter spokesman.

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There are ways to prevent problems. First, don’t pour grease and gravy down the drain.

“That’s just putting fat down the drain and it will cling to your pipes,” Swearingen said.

Also, he recommends people clean their drain and disposal prior to Thanksgiving. Putting ice cubes in the disposal is a cheap and easy way to clean the blades as a preventative maintenance practice.

He also recommends using drain care products with enzymes, which are safe for plumbing and introduce bacteria to help keep it clean. Drain care products with enzymes are a process, not something that will work overnight, he said.

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“Drains are like arteries and anything that goes down is like cholesterol,” Swearingen said. “Through time, they end up gathering on the walls of the pipe, which restricts the pipe.”

Along with cleaning before the holiday, he recommends treating your drain afterwards to prevent buildup.

Swearingen also said high fiber foods sometimes seem to have problems going down the drain even with the disposal, so the key is lots of water before turning on the disposal. After the disposal is turned off, still run the water to make sure the food can make it to its destination.

Swearingen said one of the key things to remember is to get your water running before adding food and running the disposal.

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“You have to have your river running before you add any boats,” he said. Also, he said put in small amounts at a time, he said.

6 tips to avoid Thanksgiving weekend plumbing and drain trouble:

  • Don’t pour grease or cooking oil down drains. They solidify in pipes and choke drains.

  • Keep potato peels, poultry skins, bones, rice and pasta out of the garbage disposal.

  • Make sure the disposal is running when you drop in food scraps.

  • Don’t flush wet wipes down toilets. Most won’t dissolve and they’ll clog pipes.

  • Place a plunger in guest bathrooms to save your guests the embarrassment of asking for one.

  • Spread out showers and laundry loads.

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