Thanksgiving is that wonderful Thursday in November where family gathers and great food is eaten. It's a fun holiday with lots of staples like parades, football, turkey and pumpkin pie. It's also your plumbing's worst nightmare. The plumbing in your kitchen and bathroom are put to the test on Thanksgiving. The overabundance of guests and food are a recipe for disaster. When your plumbing is clogged with food or even hair, the potential for water damage is at an all-time high. There are some Thanksgiving plumbing prep tips to help you though. Water damage isn't 100% preventable (there are always forces outside your control) but using caution and taking care of your plumbing are great ways to reduce your chances of water damage.


The kitchen is where the magic happens on Thanksgiving. It's where the food is prepped and cooked and it may even be a gathering spot for your family before the food is served. The kitchen is also where one of the biggest plumbing snafus can occur. Garbage disposals are fantastic devices that can churn up a lot of scraps in a short amount of time, but they are also delicate and unfortunately, they can turn into a massive headache on Thanksgiving. If you use the garbage disposal as your sole means of food disposal, chances are you're going to break it.

There are a lot of foods that you should never put down the disposal, including:

  • Starches like potatoes
  • Stringy foods like celery and lettuce
  • Grains like pasta and rice
  • Non-edible items like grease, oil, bones, and eggshells

The disposal has a hard time breaking down these types of foods, which can cause a blockage, breakage, and leak. Most people also don't use the garbage disposal correctly, leading to obstruction and damage. The proper way to use the garbage disposal is to turn on the faucet and allow the drain to fill with water before you put food into it. After you turn the disposal off, let the water run for a moment longer to prevent the waste from clogging the drain.

An alternative to the garbage disposal, if you're not inclined to throw it in the trash, is to use a compost pile. A compost pile is decomposed organic matter you allow to build-up over time. It makes fantastic fertilizer in the Spring. For tips on how to create your own compost pile, check out Bonnie Plants' post How to Create a Compost Pile.


The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in your home on turkey day. Thanksgiving is the one day of the year you're expected to overeat, which means your bathroom is overused. If your home is going to be filled with guests, consider posting a reminder sign of should and should not be flushed.

Say no to:

  • Sanitary napkins and other feminine products
  • Facial wipes, cotton swabs, and Q-tips
  • Paper towels
  • Cleaning wipes

Say yes to:

  • Human waste
  • Toilet paper

Outside of the toilet bowl, the shower is also concerning if some of your guests are staying over. Instruct your guests to wait at least 15 minutes between showers. This allows the water to completely drain and any hair inside to finish its journey. The best way to prevent a hair-clogged drain is to use a shower drain strainer.


If you took all or none of these Thanksgiving plumbing prep tips, and you've got a plumbing problem leading to a water loss, your first step should be to call a plumber to stop the water. But you also need to take care of the water itself, so your next action needs to be calling a water restoration company. A little bit of water can cause a lot of damage, and water damage is the second most common insurance claim filed by homeowners. If something leaked or gushed onto your floors or walls, a water damage restoration company will perform mitigation and restoration. If this happens to your family on Thanksgiving, the most important thing to remember is not to try fixing it yourself. The plumbing or the water damage. Thanksgiving is not the day to become a plumbing DIYer.

Call 877-957-5670 to schedule an appointment with an AdvantaClean water damage specialist today!

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