The start of the summer season means sun, fun, and plenty of parties. Even though your guests bring good times galore, they also invite plumbing problems. Before your warm weather get-togethers and backyard barbeques get underway, take a look at the top summer party plumbing issues and how to correct them.
Your kitchen sink isn’t a garbage can. Even if you have a disposal, putting the wrong things into your plumbing can cause serious problems. If your summer involves parties with a cook-out style, don’t put these items down the drain:
- Corn husks. Are you shucking corn for a backyard barbeque? The fibrous husks and stringy silk can clog your drain. If you do need to shuck over the sink, collect the husks, silk, and all other debris, remove it, and put it in the trash or compost pile.
- Melon rinds. Chunky rinds are hard on disposal blades. Like with corn husks, remove these from the sink after you’re done with the food prep.
- Chicken bones. Never place the bones from fried chicken or chicken wings into your sink’s drain or disposal. Bones can clog drains, catching other food items on the way down. Along with causing clogs, bones can stick in disposal blades, forcing the appliance to stop working.
- Oil. Cooking and frying oils can also cause serious kitchen clogs. Pour these into a heat-resistant container, let the oil cool, and throw it out in the trash.
- Flour. Fried chicken is a prime menu item for summer picnics. But the flour you coat the poultry in can coagulate in your drain, causing pipe clogs, so don’t rinse it down.
Along with these food items, never put coffee grounds down the drain. Like flour, the fine grains can stick together and cause clogs. If you’re serving an after-barbeque pick-me-up, throw the grounds away in the garbage.
The added guests mean your bathroom will accrue more wear and tear. If you have all-day or overnight guests, institute a few easy-to-follow bathroom rules — especially for children and parents with infants. These rules should include (but aren’t limited to):
- Don’t overfill the toilet. Make sure both adults and children know not to fill the toilet with paper. Parents may need to assist their very young children, helping them to limit use.
- Keep toys out of the bathroom. Small toys (especially pool or water toys) can end up in the toilet. If flushed, these can clog the pipes or cause a serious flood.
- Don’t flush diapers. Give parents with infants and young toddlers a place to throw dirty disposable diapers away instead of using the toilet.
The toilet isn’t the only bathroom area that requires special summer party rules. Keep pool toys and towels out of the sink. While these aren’t likely to cause permanent damage, they can block the drain and cause an overflow.
Washing Machine Woes
While your washing machine isn’t a direct part of your plumbing system, it requires water and may drain into a nearby basin or other sink or drain structure. The added guests, beach towels, and sweaty summer clothes can force your washer into working harder. This extra work can result in clogs, leaks, and other plumbing problems.
Whether your washer backs up, the toilet clogs, you accidentally toss a tray of chicken wing leftovers into the drain, or you have another summer-time plumbing problem, you may need a professional’s help. While you may fix some minor issues, such as a clogged toilet (clogged with paper and not a toy) without help, you’ll need a plumber’s services for complex repairs.