WARNING: Tis’ the Season for The Dreaded Kitchen Sink Clog.
Did you know that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season is the busiest times of the year for residential plumbers to perform service calls to resolve kitchen related plumbing issues like sink drain clogs and clogged or broken garbage disposals?
As homes across the country begin to ramp up their food production and create culinary delights to please and satisfy friends and family as well as the gathering of holiday guests who will surround the table to celebrate, the kitchen sink drain line and garbage disposal will be imposed upon to receive a dramatic influx of waste content (some organic and some inorganic) to meet this demand. Excess cookie dough, fruits and preserves, assorted grease drippings, peeled potato and fruit skins, fibrous vegetable husks, egg shells and a medley of remnants of unused leftovers will all find their way to the kitchen sink drain this season. Many kitchen sink lines will most likely survive this holiday assault and live to fight another day, but history strongly suggests that many drain systems will not.
Typically, drain clogs are created over a long period of time as pieces of food and debris begin to mix with grease and other oils and begin to solidify along the cool inner walls of your drain pipe. Over time this wall of sludge will continue to grow, reducing the diameter of available space for wastewater from the sink drains to flow. A sudden increase in the amount of kitchen sink waste created during the holiday season can quickly close off the already reduced pathway of waste flow and suddenly reduce drainage to a trickle or a complete blockage altogether.
Aging or undersized garbage disposals can also be formidable contributors to kitchen sink clogs. A homeowner has to be realistic about the true capabilities of his or her garbage disposal system before shoving a voluminous amount of waste down its throat to be theoretically ground into smaller more manageable pieces for wastewater transport.
A ten year old garbage disposal is not likely to perform anywhere near as well or efficiently as it did the day it was first installed. Over time, the motor becomes tired and the grinding components begin to dull which may encourage larger particles to pass into the waste system. Misusing the disposal, like grinding food waste with hot water instead of cold, or putting excessive amounts of starchy wastes like pasta or potatoes or fibrous matter like celery into the system can also encourage kitchen sink blockages.
Consider being proactive as a homeowner and address the potential of a kitchen sink blockage before it happens, not on the eve or day of a major holiday when you are trying to prepare a festive meal for 30 guests. If your kitchen sink is already a little slow draining, have the system assessed by a competent plumbing or drain technician. A preventative drain cleaning of the line with a rooter-type machine should be able to poke through the accumulating soft blockage in the waste line to help restore flow. Hydro-jetting the drain line would scour the internal diameter of the waste pipes, breaking up years of accumulated solids and sludge and flush the debris out of the waste line and restore the complete intended flow of the system.
If you make use of your garbage disposal during the holidays be certain to run cold water while operating the system while introducing waste into the throat in measured amounts. If the system is older, consider having your plumber replace it with a new one before preparing your big meal. Most residential garbage disposals operate at a half horsepower, but if you use your system a lot or want to ensure its reliability under more strenuous conditions like holiday baking and meal preparation, think about up-sizing your disposal to a 3/4 or even 1 horsepower model. These systems are designed to grind waste more thoroughly, and often with less noise than standard garbage disposal models.
A sudden drain clog in your kitchen sink line during the busy holiday cooking and baking season can wreak havoc on your festivities. Consider being proactive to minimize the chance of that event occurring. If, however, you do find yourself in the predicament of a kitchen sink back up (or any type of drain back up for that matter), we here at Titan Plumbing will be standing by to resolve your problem with expedience and professionalism. Titan Plumbing wishes all our customers (Past, Present, and Future) a very happy and clog-free holiday season.