Spooky Plumbing Nightmares Can Frighten You
The spookiest season of the year is in full swing, from watching your favorite scary movies to trick-or-treating. With all the spooky goings-on, you expect to have a little friendly terror in your life. What you don’t need are plumbing horrors that take you by surprise during an already hectic time of the year. Yet the makings for such problems are already haunting your house, waiting to spread some unwanted Halloween frights.
While we here at J&A South Park can’t help with your kids’ costumes or carving your pumpkins and decorating your homes, we can help you avoid some common plumbing mishaps that can happen this time of year. We want your Halloween season to be all about treats with no tricks.
That’s why we’re offering these Halloween plumbing tips to help you avoid those plumbing nightmares that can really put a damper on your Halloween spirit.
If, however, you should encounter some plumbing problems, give us a call. Leave the plumbing tricks to us and simply enjoy the treats this bewitched season has to offer.
When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, make sure your drain is clean!
Who doesn’t like to carve pumpkins?
The jack-o’-lantern is a beloved showpiece for the Halloween holidays. Nothing quite says autumn like the fun of scooping the stringy guts out of a bright orange pumpkin. Unfortunately, your sink and garbage disposal don’t appreciate this family tradition as much as your kids might.
Let’s face it, with the millions of pumpkins being carved this October; there’s little doubt that Americans will scrape thousands of pounds of pumpkin pulp and seeds down their drains throughout the Halloween season.
The truth is, pumpkin pulp and seeds are not meant for your drains. If your Halloween plans include carving a pumpkin, it’s essential to be careful of where you dispose of those pumpkin seeds.
Keep in mind that sticky pumpkin pulp can plug up your sink drains and clog your toilets. True, the guts seem slightly soft, so you might ask, what’s the problem? The problem is that they can harden in your pipes and cause havoc. Even garbage disposals can become a part of a Halloween plumbing nightmare when those pulp and seeds are flushed down. They can clog the plumbing and lead to malfunctions in the garbage disposal itself.
Instead of putting pumpkin seeds and pulp down your drain, you should:
- Dispose of it in the garbage. Lay down some newspaper for a stress-free cleanup and keep a garbage can nearby when carving. Preparation will help keep pulp and seeds out of your drains.
- You might want to think about roasting leftover seeds! Rather than throwing them down your drain or in the garbage, roast then in the oven with some salt and olive oil instead.
IT came from the sink drain
(If you saw either version of the movie IT, you can relate to the image of “things” coming up from your sink’s drain.)
Halloween parties often involve good food that you might not normally indulge in during the rest of the year. They also mean bigger meals being prepped than usual, uncommon meal scraps, and unfamiliar guests, all of which can bring about a disaster for your plumbing.
Be watchful of what is tossed into your garbage disposal and sink drains. Fats and oils should never go down the drain or disposal. If grease is poured into drains, it can solidify in the pipes and bring about major blocks.
Face paint is a time-honored component of Halloween costumes. But you shouldn’t wash it off your kid’s face in the sink. Grease-based makeup can stick to the sides of your pipes, reducing drainage. Instead, get rid of makeup with a disposable wipe and toss the wipe into the trash can.
You might also want to avoid flushable wipes. Yes, we know what you’re thinking. If they can clog toilets, why are they called flushable? The truth is, homes located in cities with older sewer systems, like Pittsburgh and the surrounding communities, often have weakened sewers, so they are not sufficiently built to handle “flushable” wipes.
Another important thing to get rid of properly this Halloween are candy wrappers. All too often, those tiny clear wrappers end up somewhere down a drain. These non-food items can trigger backups and clogs, so it’s important to dispose of those pesky wrappers properly.
Tip: When operating your garbage disposal, it’s best to first turn on the disposal and then add the food fragments. Once the disposal is complete, shut it off and continue to run lots of water down the drain so that the next time you use it, the system is clear.
Something wicked this way comes . . . It’s a leak!
The most spine-chilling thing about leaky pipes is that they can silently wreak havoc with the signs of their damage going unnoticed until it may be too late. A leaky pipe can happen anywhere, but we think the scariest leaks are the ones you aren’t aware of. Pipes lurk behind walls, in your basement, below your home and under sidewalks, driveways, and concrete.
Slab leaks, those that form in pipes under your home’s foundation, are the most frightful.
These leaks can go on for weeks or even months before you ever discover what’s happening. By the time the leak is discoverable, there could be significant water damage to your floors and also to the structural integrity of your house.
Although these leaks like to play hide and seek, it’s relatively easy to catch them early with a bit of preventive maintenance. Electronic leak detection is one way that our team of fearless plumbers at J&A South Park find these leaks and get repairs going before your home is damaged.
By the way, one other method by which you can detect a potential leak is to check your water usage bill carefully. If you discover a sudden jump in the monthly cost, it could mean you have an undetected leak in your plumbing system. Becoming acquainted with your water usage bill can help you discover an issue that has yet to pop up.
Another spooky plumbing issue to keep an eye out for deals with your appliances. Most of the time, your washer, water heater, and boiler are dependable and do their job without question. However, these reliable machines can take a sharp turn for the worse, producing genuine plumbing nightmare. You can keep sinister specters at bay by making sure that you regularly maintain these units.
Make sure you flush your water heater to avoid sediment build up. Inspect your water heater and a water softener to ensure that small leaks have not occurred around pipes and fittings.
Bathroom Nightmares, Part I
The toilet can contribute to a frightening night when you hear gurgling, dripping, and water running constantly. These are commonplace incidents, and they often get tossed aside like an apple in a kid’s trick-or-treat stockpile.
- If you hear dripping, but don’t locate a leak, then it’s probably your toilet’s flapper is worn out and needs to be replaced.
- On the other hand, gurgling sounds usually come from the drainpipe, not necessarily the toilet. However, if the toilet is the only device gurgling like the creature from the black lagoon, then the drainpipe could be blocked, or something is blocking the vent.
- Of course, the sound of running water can be tortuous. A healthy toilet should run 30 seconds to about a minute after flushing. If it goes longer, then something is preventing the tank from completely filling. The constant water flow is a sign of a leak between the tank and bowl.
Bathroom Nightmares, Part II
We all realize that toilet bowls have a tempting appeal to kids who relish throwing things into the water. Regrettably, around Halloween, there is an abundance of intriguing things to toss into the toilet bowl. Keep this in mind if you have young Halloween party guests who could spell trouble in the bathroom.
Make sure that no one attempts to flush any foreign objects down the commode. That means uneaten candy, candy wrappers, pumpkin parts, and even unused costume makeup. An eye-catching trashcan (maybe one with Halloween decorations) may help inspire your young guests to put these things where they belong.
Bathroom Nightmares, Part III
Plenty of horror movies also reveal that showers are a familiar place for fright. (For us older folks, who can forget the shower scene with Norman Bates in Psycho!)
Avoid potential problems by keeping your water heater at or below 125 degrees F. It’s one way to prevent scalding and save on energy costs as well.
Got goblins? Pipes that go bang in the night
Here’s a Halloween story: You head to bed after watching a scary movie. Once you’ve covered up, you hear it – loud, thumping noises in the night that echo around the house. It sounds like someone is tinkering, hammering, or vibrating the walls and floorboards.
Fear not, it’s far more probable the sounds you’re hearing are coming from your plumbing pipes rather than Casper the friendly ghost. These are not signs your house is haunted, but warnings that you have plumbing problems.
Chances are, it’s water hammer, the banging you hear created by the shock wave that causes plumbing pipes to move and strike against one another or against wooden framing. In addition to being annoying, however, water hammer can be so strong that it can rupture pipes or loosen plumbing joints.
Such pipes can pose a danger for flooding if they are not identified quickly and repaired. That’s why you should promptly address these problems upon their discovery. Most likely, a call to your J&A South Park service technician would be the best solution.
Don’t Let a Glitch in Your Plumbing Become Frightening, Scary, Spooky, Creepy, Ghastly or Ghoulish
In the event that a pipe or plumbing fixture in your home does begin to leak, you should know where to go to turn off the water supply. The main water shutoff will stop all water from being used and prevent the leak from causing further damage. Once the water supply is cut off, call the professionals at J&A South Park so they can examine the source of the leak, get it repaired, and get your home back to full working order.
You should also know the location and how to shut off the water supply to your hot water heater in the event it leaks. Also, you should place a pan underneath it, so that if it does begin to leak, there isn’t water spilled all over the floor. Regular inspection of your hot water heater to make sure it’s in good working order is a great idea, too.
When it comes to unblocking a blocked drain, there are hundreds of DIY methods and home remedies. While some of these may work in specific cases, some of them are out-and-out unsafe and have the capacity to damage your pipes and injure yourself or any future plumbers working on your drains.
That’s why it’s always best to call the professionals at J&A South Park for a blocked drain as you never know what is causing the blockage or how it will react to your method of unblocking it.
Boo to you from our crew!
Remember, if the nightmare gets too real this Halloween season, our plumbers and technicians are here to help. Make this Halloween memorable for all the right reasons.