It’s not too late to make sure your home’s plumbing is ready for the big holiday ahead. Before you welcome your guests, whether they’re coming over for an evening or staying for a few nights, you’ll want to make sure your plumbing is ready to work harder than it probably has all year long.  

Luckily, it isn’t very time consuming to check the plumbing in every part of your home or to keep it running smoothly during the holidays, just follow the tips below. By doing so, you’ll also be making sure that your plumbing is prepared for the winter months ahead. 

Do a plumbing inspection. While this can certainly be performed by a professional, it’s easy to do on your own, too. Make sure there are no leaks around the base of your toilets, faucets, or the hot water heater. Check the washing machine and dryer and remove any lint from the trap, and check the garbage disposal as well, to make sure it’s working properly. 

Watch what you put down the drain. As you prepare those holiday meals, it’s a good idea to have a glass jar or old aluminum can handy for grease. Always put poultry bones, vegetable peels, and ground coffee in the compost or trash bin. Putting any of these things down the drain can cause your garbage disposal to stop working, or clog a  drain. 

Protect the toilet. Remind guests not to flush cotton balls, sanitary napkins or tampons, face tissues, hair, or Q-Tips down the toilet. Make sure there’s a plunger on hand in case you do experience a toilet clog, and light a scented candle when guests are over to keep the bathroom in top shape. 

Check the water pressure. Before your overnight guests arrive, make sure the water pressure in your shower is strong. If you notice that the pressure is weak, it could be due to mineral deposits in the shower head. This is easy to remedy by removing the head and cleaning it. We recommend using an old toothbrush to scrub away any deposits. 

Make sure there’s enough hot water. When you’re travelling, few things are as disappointing as having to take a cold shower (especially in December!). This is a great time to check the hot water heater to ensure it’s working at its best. Turn the water heater high enough to accommodate your guests and be sure to stagger showering times to give the water time to warm up between uses. 

Conserve energy in the laundry room. Ask your guests to refrain from washing just a few items at a time, or have them place their clothes in a laundry bin to be washed when it’s full. Doing multiple small loads of laundry can make your energy and water bills spike, not to mention it may use up all the hot water your guests were probably wanting for their showers. 

A trick to prevent frozen pipes. The forecast for the upcoming holidays looks cold, with temps dipping near or below freezing at night. To make sure your pipes don’t freeze, open your sink cabinets in the bathroom and kitchen so that the warmer air in your home can keep them a bit warmer, too. 

Be safe. If you’ve got older guests, it’s especially important to make sure the bathroom is slip-resistant. Place non-strip strips or a mat in the bathtub, keep the bathroom floor dry, and make sure the bathtub is free of any soap scum that can make it slippery. Outside, make sure the walkways and sidewalk areas are free from ice so your guests stay safe entering or leaving your home. 

Don’t let a plumbing problem stop you from enjoying the holidays with your loved ones. And remember, if a plumbing issue does arise this season, we’re only a phone call away. 

It’s the time of the year when your dishwasher is probably working overtime. But let’s face it, the last thing you need during the holidays is a dishwasher that’s clogged and won’t work. Luckily if it happens it’s usually a simple fix. Dishwashers are straight-forward and uncomplicated appliances and when they clog, it’s usually for the same reasons and in common places like the drain hose or filter basket. 

If your dishwasher stops working, don’t worry. Take a look at the list below to help you pinpoint the problem. Often, fixing the issue will be simple, but sometimes it will require repair by a professional plumber. 

Top five reasons for dishwasher clogs 

A blocked filter basket. Your dishwasher has something similar to your dryer called a filter basket. Like your dryer’s lint screen, it filters food and other particles to prevent them from entering your pipes. 

Your filter basket should be cleaned on a regular basis and if you haven’t done so in a while (or ever) it could be the source of your clog. To clean the filter basket, simply pull it out by following your dishwasher’s instruction manual. It’s a good idea to wash it with soap and water as well to get it as clean as you can before placing back in the dishwasher. 

A backed up drain hose. Your dishwasher has a hose that connects to the garbage disposal or the drain in your kitchen sink. Sometimes it can get backed up with debris, especially if your filter basket is full. This can be a relatively easy thing to fix – simply detach the drain hose and give it a flush to remove the build-up. We recommend checking the drain hose on a regular basis to keep it free from sludge that can lead to clogs. 

A clogged drain or pipes. Sometimes the reason your dishwasher is clogged has nothing to do with the dishwasher itself. As soon as your dishwasher stops working, make sure to test all of the drains in your kitchen. 

If you notice that any are draining slow (or not at all), or if you hear a gurgling sound coming from the pipes, there is a good chance you’ve got a blocked pipe or clogged drain someplace other than your dishwasher. In this case, it’s best to call a plumber who can pinpoint the problem quickly and make the necessary repairs. 

Faulty garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal isn’t working properly it can lead to a clog is the dishwasher. Once you’ve eliminated a blocked filter basket or drain hose from the list of reasons your dishwasher is backing up, check to make sure the knockout plug was removed from the disposal when it was attached to the dishwasher. 

This is a common simple mistake made when installing new dishwashers, but if your garbage disposal is older – and your dishwasher as well – it may be time to invest in a new disposal.  

A broken sewer line. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this can happen. If your toilet is backed up, or if you notice your shower or bath is slow to drain, you may have a broken sewer line. This can happen for a variety of reasons. In older homes with older pipes, a broken sewer line may be caused by a pipe breaking when the ground shifts. It can also happen once tree roots get into the sewer line. 

Sewer line repair always needs to be handled by professional plumbers, and if you suspect you’ve got a broken line, it’s best to act fast. The longer you wait, the worse the problem can get. 

Following these tips can help you fix your dishwasher clog fast, but if not, go ahead and give a professional plumber a call. We can get to the source of the problem fast, so you can get back to enjoying the holiday season.