How to help your kitchen plumbing survive Thanksgiving

  • Local plumbers expect to be busy in the days after Thanksgiving fixing kitchen garbage disposals overwhelmed by the scraps of Thanksgiving feasts.

    Local plumbers expect to be busy in the days after Thanksgiving fixing kitchen garbage disposals overwhelmed by the scraps of Thanksgiving feasts. Getty Images

 
 
Updated 11/22/2021 1:23 PM

The annual Thanksgiving meal tests the limits of one's kitchen, and oftentimes the thing that fails to survive the feast is the garbage disposal.

Roto-Rooter, one of the nation's largest plumbing service providers, sees a 50% increase in call volume on Black Friday compared to a regular Friday and a 21% uptick in business over any other four-day period that encompasses a weekend.

 

We spoke to suburban plumbers about how people can avoid clogging their sink this year.

Dan Cram, the owner of Command Plumbing in Gurnee, said to avoid pouring grease down the sink. Even if grease is liquid when it goes down the drain, it will often solidify in the pipe, Cram said.

"There's a lot of houses where the sink line doesn't have a lot of pitch," Cram said. "Whenever they pour grease down, it just starts building up."

A better way to dispose of grease after Thanksgiving dinner is to use a paper towel to wipe fat out of pots and pans and toss the towels in the garbage.

Laszlo "Lance" Boldizsar, who runs Ridge Plumbing in Arlington Heights with his son, Mark, said the worst foods to put in a disposal are pasta and rice.

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"It will clog the trap in no time," Boldizsar said. "Some people will put down a whole container full of pasta and overload it."

Cram agreed that pasta and rice are the worst offenders, along with potato peels, eggshells and stuffing.

"Really, though, you just can't put a large amount of anything in at a time," Cram said. "Just put a little bit into the disposal with a large amount of water."

Not only will using a lot of water help the disposal break down food as it goes down the drain, but running the disposal without water can wear components and lead to expensive repairs.

Other Thanksgiving foodstuffs to avoid pitching in the sink are turkey bones and skin, as well as fibrous vegetables such as pumpkin and celery, experts say. When in doubt, throw it out.

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