Holiday Plumbing Prep Checklist: Are You Ready for Guests?

Snaking out a clogged shower drain.

Holiday guests don’t just put a strain on your nerves, they’ll strain your plumbing, too. Guests already have a way of taxing your bed space and living space. The last thing you need is a plumbing problem on top of it all. Get yourself ready to handle the extra capacity, and avoid getting one of “those” looks from your mother-in-law, with this holiday plumbing prep checklist.

Complete all these steps, and you just may survive the holiday season without any major plumbing mishaps.

Cover the Drains

More people in the house means more hair and debris going down your drains, a recipe for disaster. Prevent clogs by covering all your drains with strainers that block hair and debris. You can find these at any home improvement store.

Remember Trash Cans

Speaking of clogs, add trash cans to all toilets and guest rooms. They're not part of the plumbing, but they help prevent guests from flushing trash and debris down the toilet, which can lead to a very inconvenient clog.

Prepare for Drain Problems

House guests have a way of clogging up drains even when you've got preventative measures in place. Prepare yourself with a drain snake or a sink plunger. Have one or both handy. Do not use drain cleaners to dislodge clogs. Sometimes, the formula is strong enough to eat through your pipes as well as the clog. This just creates leaks.

Check for Leaks

Look under your sinks and around the bottom of toilets for wet spots that may indicate leaking. Under-sink leaks can often be repaired with new fittings or pieces of pipe. A toilet leak at the bottom can be fixed with a new wax ring, available at home improvement stores.

Holiday Plumbing Prep Checklist, Are You Ready for Guests, sink drain, p trap, leak

Change the Toilet Flapper

Your water bill is already going to go up because you have house guests, so fix that running toilet now and start saving yourself some money. Running and self-flushing toilets are usually an indication that the toilet flapper is leaking. This is the little plug-like device at the bottom of the toilet tank, and it’s not so hard to replace. Home improvement stores sell universal flappers to make it easy to simply replace the old ones.

Clean Your Shower Heads

Clean your shower heads to get a clear flow of water. This may help guests take shorter showers, always important when you have guests who may be straining the hot water capacity. Remove shower heads, soak them in vinegar overnight and rinse them well. The vinegar should eat away excess mineral deposits.

Upgrade Hot Water

House guests can deplete hot water reserves quickly. Can your tank handle it? A 50-gallon tank provides almost 20 minutes of continuous hot water, not much in the grand scheme of things. You may want to consider putting in a tankless water heater instead.

You want to know where your water shut-off valves are located so you can quickly manage leaks. Have your snakes, plungers, and DIY equipment ready to go to deal with problems right away. Avoid putting grease, food waste and other debris down your drains and toilets to prevent clogs.

Get prepared for your guests, and it will be much easier to survive the holiday season.