Increased holiday workload can be draining for plumbers

CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Garry Bonnett, a Denton Plumbing employee, works on a drain. Another local plumber says calls increase around the holidays, in part due to the number of people gathering together in homes.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

Stomachs aren’t the only things that get full after a holiday banquet.

Holiday cooks tend to throw their garbage down the kitchen sink, plugging up their pipes, according to Clovis plumbers.

Their suggestion: Throw it in the garbage bin.

“They always try to use the garbage disposal and they put too many things down that should be in the trash,” said Phil Black of B&J plumbing.

Donita Denton of Denton Plumbing said for big meals, avoid depending on the garbage disposal.

“That’s not a good idea,” she said. “Throw it in the trash.”

City sewer pipes get plugged because of grease during the winter every year when temperatures fall, according to Public Works director Harry Wang. He said the blockage is most likely due to grease poured down the drain that solidifies in the city’s sewers during the cold.

“Because of the lower temperature in the sewer, the oil tends to solidify and make the pipe thinner,” he said. “It’s better for them to collect those in a container and throw it into the Dumpster and end up in the landfill than the sewer line.”

Plumbing issues also arise when households swell with families getting together and put stress on toilets, according to Lance Mathews of Mathews Plumbing.

He said households should check their plumbing systems before having guests over for the holidays.

“If people would call a plumber ahead of time and have them clean out their sewer lines … but they never think of it until it’s plugged up,” said Mathews who once got a call to pull a comb out of a toilet after mischievous children amused themselves with the flusher during a holiday gathering.

Tips to avoid holiday plumbing disasters:
Do not overuse garbage disposal units.
Collect cooking grease in containers and throw it in the garbage.
Check the plumbing system before having a large gathering at your household.