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Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Blog

Thanksgiving Plumbing Tips

PLumbing tips for the thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving is a day for family, food and gratitude — why do you need plumbing tips for that?

Well, to give you an idea, Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) is the busiest day of the year for plumbers, nationwide.

Now why it is that? Because what homeowners don’t know about their plumbing on Thanksgiving Day can make for a NASTY Black Friday surprise. How nasty? Try stinky, day-old food wafting from your broken garbage disposal. Or try Grandma Muriel shrieking her head off as raw sewage flows UP from the toilet!

In fact, at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, our plumbers all know, you NEVER call off on Black Friday—it’s an all hands on deck situation. Proving we have a sense of humor, in the plumbing industry, Black Friday is known as “Brown Friday.”

Whether you want to enjoy the shopping — or enjoy the fact you’re not out shopping, Black Friday should be fun, not disastrous. We’ve got four Thanksgiving plumbing tips to prevent your Black Friday from becoming a Brown Friday nightmare

Two Most Common “Brown Friday” Failures

These are the top two issues that bring us to your house after Thanksgiving.

1. Clogged/Broken Garbage Disposal

A food-centric holiday leads to garbage disposal problems — makes sense. Unless you upgraded to an industrial disposal, there are limits to your home garbage disposal’s abilities.
Cleanup from massive Thanksgiving feasts exacerbate those limits. Anytime of the year that you lose your garbage disposal, you’re annoyed. When you have a house full of people, a dead or clogged garbage disposal becomes a plumber-worthy emergency.

2. Sewer Line Backup

Very common. Very gross. A blockage in your sewer line forces raw sewage to seep from every drain in your house. Since every sink and shower is connected to the main sewer line, every single drain is susceptible.

Yes, a sewer line backup is a health hazard. Yes, it leaves costly damage (and horrible memories) in its wake.

So what can block your sewer line?

Almost anything other than toilet paper…

Here’s a list of the most common sewer line culprits:

  • Grease
  • Oils
  • Food
  • Trash

Sewer line backups can happen any day of the year.

We’ve got four Thanksgiving plumbing tips to keep your garbage disposal running and your drains free of sewage.

Tip 1: No Trash (or Food) Down the Toilet

We’re not sure what it is, but something about a full house causes people to use their toilets as garbage cans.

Strangely, we’ve also seen homeowners try to flush food down their toilet (maybe their garbage disposal is also clogged).

Toilet paper and biological waste dissolve quickly. Almost anything else sticks around in your sewer pipe.

When it comes to flushing garbage or food, don’t do it on Thanksgiving, and don’t do it any other day of the year.

Tip 2: Don’t Put Bones or Peels in the Garbage Disposal

We know it’s tempting to shovel all the debris right into the disposal.


The turkey meat might be so soft and tender that it melts in your mouth, the bones aren’t. Turkey and any other animal bones are 100% above your garbage disposal’s pay grade. Try your luck on bones and you risk clogging the disposal.

You also need to stay away from the potato peels from your real mashed potatoes. They can wrap around the garbage disposal’s moving parts, bringing it to a grinding halt.

Tip 3: Get a Plumbing Check-Up

If you have old pipes or your plumbing has been acting funny, Thanksgiving dinner will push them to the limit.

More people means more chance for something to go wrong. Before you have a house full of guests, make sure your plumbing is 100% ready.

After all, we’re sure you need one less thing to worry about. Also, check out our to ensure you get the maintenance you need, ahead of schedule.

Tip 4: No Grease or Oil down the Disposal

Why not? We understand not grinding bones, that one’s common sense. Grease and oil are liquids, what’s the problem there?

They’re liquids when they’re hot, sure. When they cool, they become solid and sticky. When you dump that grease, it tends to turn solid in your sewer pipe. Meaning…a massive sewer line backup.

This is what a sewer pipe looks like when grease cools inside it. And yes, this pipe had to be removed at the owner’s expense.

Our plumbing tips prevent this type of disaster.

What to do instead: Pour your excess oil and grease in a coffee can or other metal container. Let it cool, and toss it out.

If you’ve been pouring grease or oil down the garbage disposal but haven’t experienced a backup, you still have time to fix it before disaster strikes.

Bring us out for a sewer line inspection before it gets any worse.

Plumbing Tips: Wrap-Up

Now you know why the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the years for plumbers. Curiosity solved.

You might feel a tad grossed out, but that’s better than feeling extremely grossed out when liquid sewage bubbles up into the bathtub.

Follow these four rules and you’ll be able to stay thankful that you’ve never experienced the chaos of Brown Friday.

Contact us for all your plumbing needs, any day of the year.

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