How to help your plumbing system survive the holidays!
During the rest of the year your toilet has pretty much the same use required of it, however, come the holiday season your toilet is put through its paces and this is where things may go wrong.
- Tell family and friends about any quirks that your toilet may have. e.g jiggle the handle, hold it down, flush twice etc.
- Encourage the use of other toilets in the home to spread the load.
- Remember to only put toilet paper in the toilet. Definitely no diapers, sanitary products or dinner napkins. These items are high on the toilet blocker scale!
- Keep shelves above toilets clear of objects as there is more liklihood of them ending up in the toilet with visitors. We have seen some interesting items over the years – a huge perfume bottle lid, a shark (toy!) a Blackberry (not the fruit kind!) candles and a urine specimen pot.
- It is advisable to get into the habit of closing the toilet seat. The water from a flush can spread about 6 feet away from the bowl. Not nice if toothbrushes are in range. It’s also a good idea to close the lid to prevent new toys being tested out in the water by toddlers!
- If your toilet gives you a holiday headache, try the following steps:
- If a blockage occurs, do not keep flushing: use a plunger to try and dislodge the blockage.
- If the toilet keeps running on, check the position of the flapper inside the tank and ensure that it fits over the hole in the base of the tank. If it is a bad fit use the shut off valve, located under the tank.
- If your toilet is blocked and the sinks and tubs are slow to drain, it is possible you may have an obstruction in the main line. If your sinks etc are still running fine and your toilet is blocked, it’s just the toilet that is the problem.
If you own a garburator, be careful what you allow to go down. Many foods can block up the motor. Rice, pasta and pumpkin can block up the line and it may be difficult to clear the blockage. Always scrape off all food debris from a plate etc., as over time, every little pea and piece of potato will build up into a soggy mass which will cause a slow draining sink. We advise the use of a strainer for your sinks to keep those sneaky bits of food out of your plumbing line. Please note that pouring any grease or fat down the drain will cause blockages. Over time the grease builds up and solidifies and it is really difficult to dislodge with most drain cleaning equipment.
If you do have a blockage in your sink, please refrain from using chemical cleaners: they can be corrosive to some piping and also dangerous to our plumber if he needs to come in and inspect the line. Try this baking soda and vinegar method to clear the line:
- Empty the water out of the sink.
- Pour 1 cup of baking soda down the drain.
- Add 1 cup of vinegar and then plug immediately.
- After about 30 minutes, wash the mixture away with hot water.
A plunger can also be used on a sink, but be sure to plug the overflow hole first, or you may get wet!
As with the sinks, all plates, pans, dishes etc. must be scraped as much as possible to prevent discharge line blockage. It’s also a good idea to make sure your discharge drain connection is higher in the cabinet than the base of the sinks. This is to prevent backing up of water into your dishwasher from a blocked sink.
If you do have family visiting, it may be a good idea to get a hair trap for your shower or tubs. Extra heads of hair can take their toll on your bathroom plumbing! Additionally extra people using the sink to brush teeth and shave can cause a sink blockage. As a preventive measure, we recommend Biosmart, which is a safe to use clog preventer. See our products page for more information.
We hope you enjoyed reading these tips and we wish you Happy (and clog-free) Holidays.