The holidays will be here before you know it, which will mean more guests, more wear and tear on the plumbing system, and more chances of a plumbing emergency occurring.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of a well-functioning plumbing system and why regular proactive plumbing maintenance is crucial. We will examine the possible hazards that could lead to a calamity during your holiday celebrations and ways to keep things working smoothly.

A well-maintained home is a joy to inhabit and part of that maintenance includes the plumbing system. The holidays create a shift in normal household routines as additional meal planning, cleaning, shopping, and entertaining put a strain on our time and energy. Combine this with concrete data stating the two busiest days for plumbing service calls are Thanksgiving and the day after Christmas and you can see why there is a need to prepare your plumbing for the holidays!

Incoming Water Supply Lines

Plumbing systems are simple and consist of water entering your property while wastewater exits simultaneously. Here we will look at common issues associated with incoming water that can create holiday woes.

First, be certain to run the water in areas of your home that might receive little use except for holidays. Run both the hot and cold faucets on sinks and tubs and remove aerators so the water can flow as fast as possible. This will help clean the pipes of any debris or stagnating water.

Clean expired water filters that may be installed under sinks or inside refrigerators. If left unattended these filters can lead to unhealthy water.

Have your water softener examined for cleanliness and be certain there is an adequate supply of salt. As water passes through the softener it is depleted of minerals that can cause pipe corrosion and failing appliances such as washing machines which will be in high holiday demand.

A visual inspection of all exposed plumbing should be made and additional insulation should be applied to plumbing pipes, especially those that run through unheated areas of your home. 

Plumbing Appliance Issues

The holidays are hard on certain appliances such as garbage disposals, washing machines, and dishwashers. With additional guests, these appliances get a real workout and it is important to be aware of how to properly use and maintain these appliances.

Garbage Disposal

Turkey bones, greasy gravies, and certain other food items cannot be disposed of in the disposal and will lead to garbage disposal issues. Here is a list of food items that must never go down the kitchen drain and into the disposal but rather should be placed in a trash can:

-Grease, oils, and fats of any kind

-Starchy foods such as pasta and rice

-Seeds and pits like those found in pumpkins you use for pie-making

-Potato peels from your famous mashed potatoes

-Fibrous foods especially celery and onions from your stuffing

-Coffee grounds from the after-meal roast

-Hard bones

It is wise to keep a trash can next to the sink during holiday meal cleanup to reduce the temptation to just dump it all in the garbage disposal.

Washing Machine

Extra guests mean more clean sheets and towels along with additional loads of clothing. Before the guests arrive, visually inspect the washing machine hoses for leaks and bulges and take the time to replace hoses older than 3 years to avoid a flooded holiday.

Check out the laundry sink drain and clear it of any debris along with the washer drain pipe. Lint and other unwanted items can collect in the filter causing drainage issues. 


It is imperative that those filling the dishwasher scrap away all the excess food remaining on plates. This food can easily clog the dishwasher drain causing the machine to back up and deposit wastewater on the kitchen floor. 


Every sink, bathtub, shower, toilet, and appliance in your home comes equipped with a drain. The key to keeping these drains in good order is to be cautious of what you allow down them. Similar to the kitchen drain, all the drains in your home suffer when inappropriate items are disposed of.

Sinks, tubs, and showers will develop clogs due to oily bathroom products that line the interiors of drains. This goo acts as a magnet to attract loose hairs creating blockages.

You will know you have a clog if a single drain in your home is slow to empty. You will have bigger issues to address if all the drains are slow. This indicates a sewer line issue.

Take a good look at the area around and, if visible, under your drains for leaks. Inspect the ceilings below the drain pipes looking for dampness or staining. Use your nose to search for unusual smells emanating from drains that can indicate a hidden leak where mold might be growing.

Sewer and Septic Lines

The last thing you will need is a blocked sewer line during the holiday season. Poor disposal habits are common causes of a blocked sewer line as are the following:

Tree root invasion

-Damaged pipes

-Heavy rain

-Foreign objects accidentally flushed. Children’s toys are popular.

-Flushing items labeled “flushable”

A preemptive sewer line inspection once a year will help protect your sewer line from giving up over the holiday season. 

Septic systems are alternative waste disposal mechanisms in areas where public sewers are not available. Septic systems also need attention and what better time to schedule a septic tank cleaning than right before the holidays? The technician will evaluate all pipework, pumps, filters, and the drain field to be certain all components are functioning properly.

Toilet Troubles

Amongst all the plumbing fixtures and appliances the one most frequently used during the holiday season is the toilet. It is also the cause of the majority of service calls. Too much toilet paper or flushing items not meant for the toilet are the common reasons toilets clog.

The only items that are allowed in a toilet should be human waste and toilet paper and the paper should be used judiciously. Under no circumstances should the following items be flushed:

-Feminine hygiene products

-Dental floss


-Kitty litter

-Paper towels

-Anything labeled ‘Flushable” 

Learning about proper disposal habits and instructing your guests as to what is allowable might be the second best defense against holiday plumbing emergencies with the first being regularly scheduled plumbing inspections of the entire plumbing system. 

Need An Orange County Plumber?

There is nothing better than having the trained eyes, ears, and noses of licensed professional plumbers examining your plumbing system for clogs, leaks, and other plumbing issues on a yearly basis. They are trained to catch small problems early before they turn into plumbing disasters. 

Never underestimate the value of a yearly plumbing inspection to keep your tubs, toilets, sinks, and appliances in ready form so you can enjoy your guests and all that the holiday season has to offer. You will rest easy knowing you did everything you could do to prepare your plumbing for the holidays!

Contact us today for any of your plumbing emergencies in Orange County!

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