We love a good holiday party, but we’d rather not crash yours. Here are a few tips that you can use to help with holiday plumbing disasters.
1) Toilet clogs… there’s nothing worse than a guest pulling you aside and telling you your toilet is clogged (there’s actually nothing worse than being that guest who clogged the toilet in the first place). Your first go-to should be your handy plunger. Make sure the plunger has a good seal around the bottom of the toilet, then push down a few times. If this doesn’t clear it, try this: pour a small amount of dish soap (liquid Dawn or equivalent) directly into the bowl, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Use this time to make sure your other guests are full-on drinks and food. Then go back with the plunger again. The soap can make the clog more slippery, so it helps push it to the sewer line. If all else fails, use a drain auger, or a “snake”. Use augers carefully, as they can scratch the actual toilet bowl, but rarely damage your pipes.
2) Sink clogs… yup, Grandma did it again, she put all the potato peels down the sink drain, and now nothing else will go down. Try a sink plunger first, these are smaller and shaped differently than toilet plunger (please don’t use the same plunger on your sink that you just used to unclog the toilet). Make sure there is a good seal around the drain and that there is water about an inch above the bottom of the plunger. Simply push down a few times. This may create enough force to push the clog out. You can also try a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to help dissolve the clog. I use about 1/4 cup of baking soda, poured directly into the drain, followed by about a cup to cup and a half of distilled white vinegar. This will foam up, and then go down the drain. Let this sit for about 10 minutes, then pour very hot water down the drain (not boiling, and be careful, it’s hot!). If all else fails, use a drain auger. You may have to remove the p-trap under the sink to get in the drain with the auger, so have a bucket and towels ready.
3) Know where your water main shut off is! If you have a water pipe burst, start by turning the water off to the house. This is usually located on the side or front of your house. Know where this is well before you have to use it. Once you’ve turned the water main off, turn on the closest faucet to the water main (it may be your hose) and let the water drain out. Next, call a plumber!