The holiday season means three things: family, gifts and lots and lots of food. For household drains and aging sewers across the United States, it means a lot of grease going down the pipes - and into the sewers.
For some harried cooks, the simplest way to get rid of fat from ham, bacon, turkey and roasts this season is down the kitchen drain. There it congeals, clogging the pipe and trapping food scraps until the only solution is to call the plumber.
The holidays are especially stressful for household drains. Cooks, sometimes inexperienced, overload garbage disposals with potato peelings, pumpkin pulp and other food waste. They fail to use enough water to flush them down the pipes, then put cooking grease and oil in the mix.
To avoid home drain problems, experts have some advice:
Clean up oil and grease with paper towels and discard them. Or pour off the grease into a container, let it congeal, and discard the container in the trash.
Avoid putting stringy or fibrous waste down the disposal.
Do not wait until the disposal is full to turn it on. Use plenty of water, and let it run for 20 or 30 seconds until it is clear.
If there are a lot of house guests, wait 10 minutes or so between showers so slow drains can clear.
Do not flush wipes, cotton swabs or paper towels down the toilet.
Take care of plumbing issues you're aware of before the holidays.