Second only to Black Friday, Super Bowl Monday is the busiest time of year for plumbers across the United States. Why? Whenever large numbers of people gather to cook and consume food, plumbing systems are forced to work overtime. This may explain part of the problem, but most modern plumbing systems can easily handle the larger load.

The main problem? People’s neglect and negligence.

Most plumbing problems associated with holiday parties are caused by improper plumbing maintenance and overestimations of your plumbing system’s abilities. Although it’s best if you have a professional plumber inspect your system before any large gathering, many plumbing problems can be prevented with a little knowledge and preparation before the big day. Remember, the best offense is a good defense. Schedule annual plumbing maintenance to keep your entire plumbing system healthy and efficient. Current problems will be addressed and future problems will be detected.

Sign up for the Happy Hiller Club for annual electrical, plumbing, heating, and cooling inspections and tune-ups.

Whether you are a host or a guest for Super Bowl 50, avoid a plumbing interference by learning some garbage disposal tips before kick-off! If, however, you want to discuss the big game with one of our football-loving plumbers on Super Bowl Monday, feel free to disregard these tips.

Garbage Disposal Tips for Parties and Large Gatherings

#1 Tip: Don’t let your guests use the garbage disposal! Either assign one or two people to take care of all the dishes and leftovers, or instruct everyone to scoop their leftovers into the garbage. You can even put a “Do Not Use” sign on the disposal switch.

Some garbage disposals are more sensitive than others and your guests probably won’t know what your waste disposal unit can or cannot handle. It’s best to play it safe and mark the garbage disposal as out of bounds.

While some things, such as metal and plastic, are obviously bad for your disposal unit, there are plenty of unexpected materials and objects that can cause breakdowns, clogs, and other damage to your plumbing system.

NEVER Put These Items down the Garbage Disposal:

  1. Glass, metal, plastic, or paper (including cigarette butts, fruit stickers, string ties, etc.).
  2. Grease, oil, or fat (including meat fat and cheese). Put your grease in a metal or glass container and either save it for reuse or throw it out in the trash.
  3. Stringy, fibrous, or starchy vegetables (celery, corn husks, artichokes, onion skins, potato skins, etc… small amounts are probably fine, but it’s best to avoid these tough vegetables).
  4. Pasta or rice (foods that expand when water is added).
  5. Hard stuff (bones, pits, and seeds… although small fish and chicken bones are OK).
  6. Large amounts of anything (large amounts of anything will cause a garbage disposal clog).

Garbage Disposal Don’ts:

  1. Don’t turn the water or garbage disposal off until grinding has finished. Then, turn the garbage disposal off and let the water run for 10-15 seconds before turning water off.
  2. Don’t use harsh chemicals, such as bleach or drain cleaners.
  3. Coffee grounds and egg shells are commonly put down the garbage disposal, but they can actually cause clogs and other problems. It’s best to avoid.
  4. Remember, your garbage disposal is not a trashcan; use it only for food scraps and never feed it too quickly.
  5. Never put your hand or utensils down the disposal! If you need to remove something, shut off the electrical power switch first, located underneath the garbage disposal itself. If you can’t find the switch, turn off the disposal at the main breaker box.

Garbage Disposal Do’s:

  1. Grind food waste with a strong flow of cold water (it helps solidify any grease or oil).
  2. After you turn off the garbage disposal, rinse with hot water for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Cut large items into smaller pieces and feed them in one at a time rather than all at once.
  4. Use your garbage disposal frequently to avoid rust and corrosion.
  5. Remove small objects from around your sink to avoid them accidentally falling into your garbage disposal.
  6. If you have to remove anything from your garbage disposal unit, make sure it is turned off at the source, by either flipping the switch underneath your unit or turning it off from the breaker box.

Find out more about your disposal including, cleaning and repairing by clicking here.

OR, give Hiller Plumbing, Heating, and Air a call! 844-MyHILLER