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While Black Friday may be a hectic day for most retailers, it is also the biggest day of the year for America’s plumbers.
Plumbing company Roto-Rooter said for the last seven years, business on Black Friday increases 47 to 50 percent compared to an ordinary Friday. During the four-day Thanksgiving weekend business increases 21 percent over any other Thursday through Sunday period during the year.
Chris Rainaldi, owner of Rainaldi Plumbing in central Florida, agreed that the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest day of the year for his business.
“Normally it’s a pretty packed day. We work from 7:30 in the morning and it’s steady up to 6 o’clock at night,” he said. His father started the family business in 1974 and it now employs 35 workers.
Read more: 5 Things Not to Buy on Black Friday
Contrary to what people may think is the most frequent cause of plumbing problems, Black Friday is not inspiration for toilet humor.
“It’s not even close. The number one reason for calls is kitchen sink drains and garbage disposals,” said Paul Abrams, Roto-Rooter Service’s director of public relations.
After preparing or eating a large meal, Abrams said people try to push things down garbage disposals in sinks and clog drains.
Roto-Rooter, based in Cincinnati, has over 3,400 company-owned branches and about the same number of franchisees.
Chuck White, vice president of technical and code services of the Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors (PHCC) National Association, said many people clog drains or garbage disposal cleaning up after the meal but resign to calling the plumber the next day.
“When people are cleaning up usually they’re exhausted by the ordeal of the day,” White said. “They say, we’ll call in the morning.”
The second most frequent problem that requires a plumber is main sewer lines.
“There’s always someone who tries to flush things down the toilet, like turkey carcasses and things from the meal. Maybe they don’t have garbage disposal,” Abrams said. “We get some odd stories of things like that.”
Abrams explained that many people have emergencies on Thanksgiving Day, but try to wait until the next day to call often because customers have the misconception that they will have to pay a higher holiday rate on Thanksgiving or they don’t think plumbers are available.
“People find it surprising. We’re kind of in a rescue situation especially when it happens on Thanksgiving,” Abrams said.
The cost for a plumbing house-call can range from $90 to $350, depending on your geographic location.
White’s and Roto-Rooter’s clog-preventing tips include:
1. Don’t pour fats or cooking oils down drains.
2. Avoid putting stringy, fibrous or starchy waste in the garbage disposal, like poultry skins, celery, fruit and potato peels.
3. Don’t wait until the garbage disposal is full to turn it on.
4. Wait 15 minutes between showers so water has time to drain if you are hosting more people than usual at home.
5. Don’t flush cotton balls, swabs, hair or facial scrub pads down the toilet because they don’t dissolve.
6. Try using cold water instead of hot water so grease solidifies and is flushed through a pipe. Otherwise, the grease could stick to the pipe.