The holidays from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day are a boon to Valley plumbing businesses.
The Tribune asked several Valley plumbing companies and found that the number of repair calls ramps up during the six weeks from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1, and it’s likely to get even busier because more Valley visitors are expected for the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.
The three most frequent repair needs are for frozen water pipes as a result of sudden drops in temperature, clogged toilets caused by excessive use and jammed garbage disposals, according to plumbers reached by the Tribune.
“There’s a big demand on us plumpers during the holidays, mainly because of the overflow of visitors,” said Reg Vallelunga, owner of Delta Plumbing in Apache Junction.
Chris Stanfield, owner of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Chandler, said sudden temperature drops below 32 degrees can cause pipes to freeze and burst, making hot showers impossible.
“It’s hard to tell whether your water tank will break down,” said Stanfield.
“Most tanks are OK for six to ten years, but you don’t know until it goes bad. If we get a sudden freeze, and the water lines freeze, well, there’s not much you can do about it except call the plumber.”
David Standish, owner of Quill Plumbing and Restoration in Mesa, said the demand for plumbing repairs begins for him even before Thanksgiving Day and continues through the new year.
“My clients call me just before Thanksgiving when they realize they’ve got plumbing problems that need fixing before their guests and family arrive,” said Standish, who repairs residential and commercial plumbing.
Standish and the other plumbers said toilets and garbage disposals are in the greatest demand for repairs — disposals because they are used more frequently following big meals, and toilets, well, for the same reason.
Standish says people should avoid putting bulky foods and stringy vegetables in garbage disposals.
He recommends occasionally running ice cubes and cold water through the disposal.
“Ice cubes tend to sharpen the disposal blades,” Standish said.
He said guests should be directed away from toilets that aren’t working efficiently. Providing toilet paper that easily dissolves is another good move, Standish said.
As for garbage disposals, Tracey Jewett, dispatcher at North Star Services in Tempe, reminds her customers to “never, never put grease or vegetable oil in your disposal.
“Pour the grease or oil in a can and toss it in the garbage,” Jewett said.
Bulky, raw vegetables can also be put in a compost pile instead of down the disposal, she said.
Garbage disposal tips
• Don’t throw items such as corncobs, bones, celery, rice, potato peels or raw foods down the garbage disposal drain
• Put leftover food in the fridge or a garbage can instead of overburdening a garbage disposal or, if possible, into a compost pile
• Never pour grease or oil into a garbage disposal
• Occasionally, drop ice cubes in disposal to sharpen the blades
• Keep a wastebasket in the bathroom for the disposal of swabs, dental floss, disposable diapers, feminine hygiene products and other items that could clog your toilet
• Do not leave small objects on the back of your toilet that could fall in and cause a clog
• Once a month, pour bleach into the toilet bowl before bedtime and flush or rinse in the morning
• Use a small mirror to check the holes under the rim of the bowl for mineral deposits or grime. Poke each hole clean with a length of wire coat hanger, and then flush to remove loosened deposits
• Keep a plunger near the toilet
• Make sure shower drains are cleaned before guests arrive