Festive Plumbing Emergencies—How To Avoid Them

While most of you are gearing up for some well-deserved time off work this Christmas, there’s no rest for plumbers! In fact, we sometimes see even more call-outs over the Christmas period because people are spending more time at home with more people in the house than usual. 

It goes without saying that plumbing emergencies over the festive period should be avoided at all costs. That’s why the team at Superior Plumbing has put together these tips to avoid common plumbing emergencies that occur over Christmas. This includes not only blocked drains, Perth, but also some emergencies you might not have thought of. 

Properly dispose of Christmas leftovers 

Christmas dinner almost undoubtedly means lots of leftovers and food waste. Most of us have at least one family member with eyes bigger than their stomach. After dinner, just be mindful of how everyone is clearing the plates away. Drains blocked by food waste make up a huge proportion of our call-outs which is a shame because this can be so easily avoided. 

Scrape any unfinished sprouts, turkey bones, and trimmings into the food waste bin. Never allow any bits of food to be washed down the sink unless you have a special waste disposal attachment. The same goes for the dishwasher—chunks of food left on plates in the dishwasher can clog up dishwasher drainpipes. Even excess gravy can create problems in the dishwasher. 

A great solution to stopping food waste from going down the kitchen sink is a ‘sink basket’. These little baskets go in your sink’s drain hole and allow water through but catch the bits of food waste, preventing them from causing problems further along the pipes. You can grab these very cheaply online. 

Never pour grease down the drain 

Christmas means lots of delicious greasy, oily, and fatty food. Roast turkey, chicken, potatoes cooked in fat, pigs in blankets—all these foods create plenty of waste oil and fat. People often think nothing of pouring this grease down the drain—it’s a liquid after all. The problem comes later when that grease hardens as it cools. 

When the grease cools and solidifies in the pipe, oftentimes a ‘fatberg’ can be created—an impenetrable blockage of fat and other objects like hair and toilet paper all stuck together that prevents wastewater from passing through. This can very quickly turn into a plumbing emergency. 

The simple alternative to pouring grease down the drain is to pour it into a container—preferably something that you’re going to throw away anyway such as packaging left over from Christmas dinner. Once the grease has hardened, just throw the whole thing in the bin. Yes, it’s a bit more effort than just pouring it down the drain, but you wouldn’t be thinking that when you have to pay a plumber to come out on Boxing Day! 

Don’t flush unflushables 

With extended family coming over during Christmas, lots of households see their number of occupants greatly increase. That means the toilet also sees increased occupancy. But no, a leading cause of blockages isn’t festive human waste, but instead, waste that doesn’t belong in the sewers.  

Wet wipes are the biggest culprit—even the ones that call themselves ‘flushable’ are, in fact, not all that flushable. In some houses, the toilets and sewage pipes aren’t even cut out to handle large quantities of toilet paper—so if you have a toilet with a lacklustre flush or a house with old plumbing, tell guests to dispose of toilet paper in a bin. Trust us, they’ll prefer to do this over blocking your toilet. 

Get clued up on what you can and can’t flush down the toilet here. 

Take shorter showers or baths 

If there are more guests in the house than usual, taking shorter showers and baths is advisable. Not only will long baths and showers use up your hot water (meaning your guest has the water go cold on them!) but they will also place more strain on your hot water system than normal and could cause it to break down. Definitely not a welcome Christmas gift! 

Regularly clean shower/bath drains 

Do you want blocked shower drains, Perth? Thought not. The biggest culprit for shower drain blockages is hair. Especially with extra guests in the house, preventing hair blockages should be a priority. 

Hair mixes with soap residue and creates dense obstructions. You want to pull the hair out before it makes its way further into the pipe. Shower drain traps are a cost-effective and convenient way to prevent hair from entering the drain in the first place, and you can find these low-cost devices easily online. 

Don’t reach for that bottle of drain cleaner 

We’ve seen it too many times before—a customer gives us a call after single-handedly turning their plumbing mishap into a plumbing emergency with a bottle of drain cleaner. Oftentimes, customers think they can fix their blocked or slow-to-drain shower or kitchen sink with a bottle of drain cleaner. We’ve all seen those TV adverts where someone pours a drain cleaner down the drain and miraculously the blockage is on its merry way.  

Unfortunately, drain cleaners usually don’t manage to move blockages more than an inch, and can actually do much more harm than good. Sometimes drain cleaners can even cause pipes to melt away due to the high heat that is created using hydrochloric acid. Read up on just how bad for your pipes (and your body) drain cleaners are here and which alternative methods for unblocking drains we recommend. 

Maintain your home’s plumbing before Christmas 

With your home’s plumbing seeing increased strain over Christmas, it’s important to find and remedy any plumbing issues before your guests arrive. The toilets, sinks, showers, boiler, and even the dishwasher are all things you should ensure are working on the top form prior to Christmas. 

Any leaks or drips from toilets and taps should be sorted out so they don’t worsen and create a festive plumbing emergency. Check that everything is flushing and draining away quickly. Ensuring your hot water system is working just as intended should be a huge priority. Servicing it at least once every two years is a must—and if your system hasn’t had a service in a while, doing so in the run-up to Christmas is highly recommended. 

Find out more about our hot water servicing here. 

Turn off your water if you’re going away for Christmas 

Festive plumbing emergencies can occur even with nobody in the house. In fact, this is probably the worst time for a plumbing disaster to happen since nobody will be there to stop any further damage being done. If a pipe bursts while you’re at the in-laws, your home is vulnerable to 1000s of dollars of water damage. 

The best way to prevent it, and to give you peace of mind, is to shut off your home’s water altogether. All you need to do is locate the mains water inlet pipe for your house, and turn the valve clockwise to close it. When you get back, simply turn it anti-clockwise to get things flowing again. 

Know who to call in an emergency 

Even if you follow all the above advice on preventing a festive plumbing emergency to the letter, sometimes the universe has other plans in store. From burst pipes to washing machine malfunctions, you, unfortunately, cannot prevent every plumbing disaster with regular maintenance and good practices. 

In these instances, it’s vital you have an excellent plumber on hand to deal with any catastrophes. You want tradesmen that you can contact at any time of the day or night, since you never know at what hour a festive plumbing emergency will happen. Superior Plumbing offers its services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. You can contact us at any time, and we’ll endeavour to get a plumber out to you as quickly as possible. 

Final thoughts 

The Christmas season is in full swing. With all the festivities going on around you, your home’s plumbing may not be at the forefront of your mind. But when something goes wrong with your plumbing, it will be all you can think about. So, to avoid these all-too-common festive plumbing emergencies, take good care of your plumbing this year: 

  • Dispose of food waste in the bin, not down the drain 
  • Never pour grease down the drain 
  • Don’t flush unflushables (not even ‘flushable’ wet wipes) 
  • Take shorter showers and baths 
  • Clean out hair from your drains regularly 
  • Keep your home’s plumbing maintained 
  • Turn off your water mains if you’re going away for Christmas 
  • Know who to call in an emergency 

 Do you need a drain plumber, Perth? You’re in the right place. Superior Plumbing is an expert team of tradesmen that can unblock drains, install drains, install and service hot water systems, and plenty more. The best bit is that we don’t have a call-out fee—you heard that right! Give us a call anytime or fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you ASAP. 


Merry Christmas from Superior Plumbing!