Business goes up during the holiday season by approximately 30 percent to 40 percent, according to Superdestapes Operations Manager Marta Cosme. Most people take part in holiday parties, and these extra guests and food sometimes put a strain on a home’s plumbing system.
“We usually get higher call volume around this time, and a lot of it is emergencies – calls made after normal business hours or even calls during the day where they need a plumber now and can’t wait,” she said. “Plumbing emergencies such as overflowing toilets, burst pipes, or sewer backups are a nuisance, and if you add holiday guests to that, customers get very overwhelmed.”
Holiday parties typically involve big holiday meals, where an increase of grease and food finds its way into the kitchen drain or garbage disposal. Those preparing the meals are usually pressed for time and are not always careful with disposing the food properly. Visiting guests are associated with extra baths and lots of extra toilet flushes. They are also usually embarrassed to ask where to dispose of diapers and sanitary napkins so they dump them in the toilets. All of this can add up to potential plumbing disasters.
“Pipes clog because of a buildup of grease, hair, soap, and food particles over time,” said Jose Santiago, a technician at Mr. Rooter Plumbing Puerto Rico. “All it takes is one major overload to create a clogged drain.”
Condominiums and apartment complexes such as walk-ups are especially vulnerable, he said. Many more people use the same plumbing system, and the increase of visitors causes an increase in the volume of sanitary discharge. Buildings that have not been given proper maintenance to keep the pipes clean of any sediment or grease are much more prone to pipe obstructions that may flood apartments, usually the ones on the first floor, resulting in thousand-dollar losses with the costs of repair, cleaning, and property damage.
Preventive maintenance is crucial when it comes to plumbing emergencies on your residential or commercial property, Cosme stressed. Unfortunately, she said, due to the economic reality we’re living in, many residential and commercial buildings are not spending money on preventive maintenance or have not given it the priority they once did.
Superdestapes, a Puerto Rican plumbing company, offers the following advice that can help avoid a plumbing disaster during the holiday season and throughout the year:
- Never pour fats or cooking oils down the drain because liquid fats solidify in the pipes and create clogs. Pour grease into a can and dispose in trash. Wipe grease from pots and pans with a paper towel and throw away in the trash.
- Do not put stringy, fibrous waste into the garbage disposal (poultry skins, carrots, celery, banana peels). The disposal can’t sufficiently grind these items, and it will clog your sink drain.
- Run cold water down the drain for about 15 seconds before and after using the garbage disposal to flush water down the main line.
- Be very careful with what goes down the kitchen drain if you do not have a garbage disposal. Put strainers in sink drains to catch food scraps and empty the strainers in the trash.
- Run the dishwasher and washing machine at night or at off times to conserve hot water and maintain adequate water pressure for your guests.
- Wait 10 minutes between showers rather than taking one right after another.
Also recommended are the use of organic products made of bacteria and enzymes that keep pipes in optimal conditions as they literally eat away the waste clogging the pipes. Harsh chemical products actually do more damage than good to the plumbing. Two such organic products are Bio-Clean, sold exclusively through Superdestapes, and BioChoice, sold exclusively through Mr. Rooter Plumbing.