Halloween can pose special challenges to your plumbing, either through intentional actions or accidents. Most problems are preventable with awareness and appropriate action. Possible Halloween related issues include:
Drain clogs from improper pumpkin flesh disposal
Unless you intend to make a homemade pumpkin pie or pumpkin soup, you need to dispose of the slimy fibrous inner flesh when you clean out your pumpkin to make a jack-o-lantern. Your first choice for disposing of this muck is likely to be your garbage disposal if you have one, or your toilet if you lack a disposal.
Both of these choices can result in a future clog because of the fibrous nature of the pumpkin flesh. Your disposal will only disperse and separate the threads to entrap other debris that makes its way into your drain pipe. Only non-fibrous food products should be placed into your garbage disposal.
Your toilet will not fare much better, as the fibrous mass lies in wait to ensnare other debris that enters your toilet drain. The only items that you should flush down your toilet are human waste and toilet tissue. Place the pumpkin flesh in the trash or add it to your composting materials (take out the seeds first because they decompose too slowly). Throw away the seeds or coat them with your choice of oil and roast them in your oven.
Clogs from items dropped into sink drains
Makeup pencils, and other Halloween related items, are easy to lose into your bathroom sink drain as you apply makeup or special effects for your costume. Before you begin to apply makeup, fake scars, or other effects, you must first plug your drain or cover it with a washcloth.
In the event that you drop an item into the drain, you should retrieve it as soon as possible, or it will soon apply its own special effects as it gathers toothpaste, hair, and other clogging materials.
Luckily, all is not lost. Just turn the water off at once in it is running. You can retrieve the lost item after your Halloween fun by removing the sink trap beneath your sink.
Removing and cleaning your sink trap
Your sink trap is the "J" shaped piece of pipe that is attached to your sink drain pipe at the top and the main drain at the bottom. Its purpose in life is to catch such clog producing items and keep them from traveling further into the main drain.
What you will need to remove and clean the sink trap
- an adjustable wrench
- a bucket and rags or paper towels
- rubber or plastic gloves
You will begin by placing rags or paper towels under the sink trap. Use the adjustable wrench to loosen the compression nut at the top of the trap by turning it counterclockwise. Then, while holding the trap upright with one hand, loosen the nut on the short bottom end. Keep the trap upright, because it will likely be filled with sludge, putrid water, and your lost item.
Empty the sink trap into the waiting bucket. if you haven't yet put on gloves, now is a good time, because you will need to pull your item from the smelly mess if it is visible, and poke through the muck to find your lost item if not.
When your have found your lost item and emptied the trap, you should take the trap to another sink or outside to your garden hose and rinse out the trap to remove accumulated muck from the inner walls of the trap.
Reattaching the trap involves tightening the nuts in the opposite direction (clockwise) until they are snug. If you need help cleaning out your trap, contact a plumber, like the ones at Action Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning Inc.
Make Halloween a "treat" for your plumbing, or you will receive a "trick" drain clog after the holiday has passed.