4 Disaster-Proof Holiday Hosting Tips
The holidays are a time to eat, drink, and be merry with loved ones, but an unexpected plumbing problem can ruin a joyful gathering faster than a dropped turkey. Preparation plays a big part in keeping things running smoothly, which is why we’ve assembled these can’t-miss tips to get you ready for hosting your holiday party.
Warm Up Your Drains
Hosting friends and family for the holidays means more water rushing through your home’s pipes. Even if you’ve recently experienced little to no drainage issues, the increased water volume can bring underlying problems to the forefront. A few days before your guests arrive, pour a pan of boiling water down each drain in your home to loosen up any solidified fats or oils. Next, pour a half cup of baking soda into each drain followed by a half cup of vinegar to wipe out any grimy sludge that’s hanging out deep in the pipes.
Let the solution sit for 20 minutes, then rinse with boiling water, and your pipes should be clear and ready to jingle-bell rock! If preventative maintenance doesn’t help your drains’ flow or has only made it worse, the issue is likely more serious, and it’s wise to contact a professional to fix it.
Guard Your Garbage Disposal
Let your relatives fight over the turkey wishbone, just make sure it doesn’t end up falling down the kitchen drain! It can do serious damage – and it’s not the only thing that can ruin your garbage disposal. Consider making a list of items that should go straight into the trash:
- onion skins
- potato peels
- coffee grounds
Post the list next to your kitchen sink so anyone who’s lending a helping hand with the dishes doesn’t accidentally end up wrecking your garbage disposal. Another way to offer a subtle hint: place a small canister labeled ‘food scraps’ near the sink. If something goes awry and your disposal does act up, keep the festivities on track by referring to our DIY repair tips.
Host Smart, Not Hard
“Smart” products that use cutting edge tech innovations to make everyday tasks easier and more efficient can certainly come in handy for your holiday hosting needs. With a smart plug, you can set a schedule for your decorative lights so you don’t have to go out into the cold to switch them on and off. You can also link a smart plug to a smart assistant like an Amazon Echo or Google Home to turn indoor lights on and off with a simple voice command instead of having to shimmy behind a prickly tree.
A doorbell camera can help you see whether it’s family, carolers, or an uninvited solicitor at your doorstep. Plus, the doorbell cam’s speaker feature means you can invite your guests to “come on in!” if you’re preoccupied with making dinner or last-minute tidying. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are more home fires during the holidays than at any other time of year. A smart smoke detector can alert you to small disturbances in air flow so you’ll know if a fire is starting before you even see smoke. These detectors also have cameras and send mobile alerts, so even if you’ve all left to go pond skating, you can call 911 before it’s too late.
Keep the Cold Outside
Whether washing dishes or bathing, hot water is usually in high demand during the holiday season, which is why it’s important to make sure your water heater is up to the task. If you haven’t flushed its tank in the last year, now is the time. Many homeowners prefer to enlist the help of a professional to do this, but if you like a challenge, here’s how to flush it yourself:
- Switch the cold-water inlet off
- Connect a garden hose to the drain valve and run the other end to a floor drain or bucket
- Open the valve wait for the tank to empty, then turn the cold water supply on for a few seconds to flush any remaining sediment from the bottom of the tank
- Once the water is running clear, close the drain, refill the tank, and you’re back in business!
Do you remember the last time you replaced your water heater’s anode rods? These crucial pieces prevent your water heater from rusting, and if they’re more than a year or two old it means corrosion may already be taking place in your tank. You can use a socket wrench to loosen these rods from the top of the tank so you can inspect them, and if they’re deteriorated or covered with mineral deposits, it’s time to replace them. If you’re anticipating heavy-duty hot water usage during the holidays, consider turning your water heater up a bit (no more than 120°F or risk scalding), and then back down once your guests leave.
Need help getting your home’s plumbing ready for the holidays? St. Louis-area homeowners have trusted Maplewood Plumbing and Sewer with their preventive maintenance and emergency plumbing needs for more than 30 years. Give us a call at 314-207-2503 or fill out the contact form here for more information or to request a bid.
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