Bloomington / Normal, IL

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Holiday Plumbing Tune-Up!


By Jerry Butler, America’s Plumbing

The holiday season is one of the busiest times for emergency calls to plumbers. Houseguests, cooking extravaganzas, extra cleaning, and entertaining put a tremendous amount of stress on your plumbing! The most common problems include clogged garbage disposals, clogged toilets, and issues with the water heater. Thankfully, most plumbing emergencies can easily be avoided by following a few simple precautions.

Garbage Disposal
A clogged or broken garbage disposal is very common and is almost always caused by shoving in too much food or the wrong types of food. Garbage disposals are not garbage cans. The sole purpose of a garbage disposal is to aid dish cleaning before washing. I have been to homes where leftover hams have been run through the disposal, causing extensive pipe replacement. And the garbage can is only a few feet away!


  • Always use plenty of cold water during use and after. This allows grease/oils to stay with food and float down the waste pipe with little residue. All foods have grease/oils that can separate from them when heated. Hot water liquefies grease/oil, which is then left behind in pipes after water and food debris is gone. People tell me all the time that they do not put grease or oil down the drain, but when they see what comes back after I clean the drain with an auger…yuk!
  • Never put oil, grease, or fat down the drain or disposal.
  • Do not put in the peels of apple, orange, potato, or onions; eggshells, rice, corn, peas, celery, fruit pits, or bones.
  • Do not put in large amounts of anything – including meats.
  • Keep the disposal clean by running ice cubes and some dish soap.

A house full of people means lots of flushing. And there is nothing more embarrassing then having a clogged toilet at a family or holiday get together! If you have a toilet that doesn’t flush so well, you might consider replacing it with a new, good flushing toilet. New toilets are taller for greater comfort, and they use larger trap ways and flappers to move smaller amounts of water with greater force.


  • Do not flush cotton balls, Q-tips, dental floss, paper towels, or “flushable” wipes.
  • Make sure there is a wastebasket near the toilet.
  • Keep a plunger in each bathroom.

Hot Water Heater
Overnight houseguests will cause your hot water heater to work overtime. To ensure that no one has to take a cold shower, space out the times that people shower. You can also increase the temperature setting a little bit, but don’t increase it above 130 degrees. You do not want to get scalded by hot water trying to make your bath or shower last a little longer.


  • Run the dishwasher and washing machine at times when people do not need to shower.
  • Cover your shower drain with a screen so it doesn’t get clogged with clumps of hair and soap.

We often put up with annoying plumbing situations that aren’t emergencies, but they do waste money, add stress to our lives, and yet are easy and inexpensive to fix. A slow drain that causes your shower to turn into a foot bath; a kitchen sink sprayer that doesn’t work, making doing dishes take twice as long; or a dripping faucet or toilet that keeps phantom flushing making it hard to sleep at night and also wasting a lot of water. You would be amazed at the money you save by correcting these water-wasters.

The last thing you want to do in the middle of holiday celebrations is to call a plumber!  While you’re busy shopping, wrapping, and decorating, remember to prepare your plumbing for the holidays as well.

Americas Plumbing is locally owned and operated by Jerry Butler. He has over 16 years experience, provides 24-hour emergency service, and is available for all your plumbing needs. You may contact Jerry at his easy to remember phone number: 1-800-PLUMBING (1-800-758-6246), by email:, or visit his website: