Top tips for a full house

This time next week it’ll be Christmas day, and your parents, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and their kids will flood through your front door.

Besides roasting the heavy load of potatoes to perfection (which is of utmost importance), there are a few other things that are worth taking note of when you have a house full of guests.

For starters, you need to know that fat, oil and grease (FOG) poured down sinks contributes to 75%1 of all drain and sewer blockages.

When you’re pressed for time and you’ve got extra mouths to feed on Christmas day, it’s tempting to get rid of unwanted cooking FOG via the kitchen sink, but over time these substances harden to form a concrete-like material. Needless to say, these blockages can seriously restrict the flow of water in the pipes, causing wastewater to back up through your toilets and sinks, or causing it to escape through manholes into streets and rivers.

The safest way to prevent FOG blockages is to allow the food waste to cool, pour or scrape it into a disposable container and throw it in the bin. Before you wash up any cooking utensils or plates, wipe them down first, and use strainers in the sink to collect any food particles that do get mixed in with your washing up water.

The bathroom is the second area of the house that needs special attention during the holidays because substantially more showers and toilet flushes occur when homes are packed with day and overnight guests.

Remember, the only things that can be flushed are the three Ps – pee, poo and paper – for everything else, bag it and bin it.

The bag it and bin it approach applies to all non-biodegradable items, including cotton buds, plasters, nappies, tampons, sanitary towels and wet wipes. Even biodegradable wet wipes should be put in the bin rather than down the toilet, as they rarely spend long enough in the sewer to start to decompose.

So, this Christmas, avoid embarrassing blockages with these simple tips:

  • Dispose of liquid fat, oil and grease by pouring it in a container and throwing it in the bin.
  • Wipe down greasy cooking utensils and cutlery with a paper towel before putting them in the dishwasher or kitchen sink.
  • If there are lots of house guests, wait 10 minutes between showers to allow the drains to clear.
  • Do not flush cotton buds, wet wipes, sanitary products or other non-biodegradable items down the lavatory.
  • Resolve any outstanding or emerging plumbing issues before the Christmas break begins.

1 Southern Water, 2014. Pain in the Drain. [Online] Available at: https://www.southernwater.co.uk/pain-in-the-drain. [Accessed 18th december 2014].

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