Many of us aren’t going to do a big Thanksgiving this year, but most of us are going to do something. And do you know what happens when you try to plan things? Murphy’s Law.
Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Nobody is 100% sure who Murphy is, so case in point. But anybody who has ever planned an event, big or small, knows that the first thing you do is create the perfect image in your mind, and the second thing is watch it all dissipate before your eyes. While I know that this is true, I also know that it doesn’t mean all events turn out badly. However, for the sake of this post, let’s pretend that they do. It’ll pay off, I promise.
To prove my own point, I’ll let you in on a little secret. There are pointers to writing good blogs, and among those tips is almost always “lists.” You know, like “50 Best Plumbing Blogs,” or “How to Lose a Plumber in 10 Drains” or whatever. I hate these. I think they are gimmicky and overdone, and I told myself I would never write one. Let’s get started.
Scenario #1: What TF is That Smell?
Let me tell you a little story. Recently my parents bought a house, and we’ll just say that the owner was having a hard time letting go. For instance, she was not moved out yet by the final walkthrough. She was relieved to hear that my parents weren’t moving in right away because she needed more time. Needless to say, a lot of hurrying and maneuvering were done by neutral parties in order to get her out of there after closing. Unfortunately, cleaning was not one of them.
My parents aren’t from here, so they returned home, and I used that time to clean so that the house would be ready when they moved in. It’s a gorgeous house, but we were not prepared for what we would find after they moved all of her stuff. It. Was. Disgusting. The bathrooms and the kitchen were the worst. The grime was so thick that we had to change out all of the faucets and shower heads, and I used so many chemicals to clean the tubs that I probably should have died. Here are two takeaways so far:
The biggest challenge, though, was the awful smell. I could tell that it was coming from the drains, so I poured vinegar down them all and deep cleaned the rest of the house. Once that was all done, there was still a very strong odor in the kitchen, and after careful investigation (i.e., perusing the room like a bloodhound), I found that the odor was coming from the garbage disposal (cue “dun dun duuun” sound effect). First I tried some garbage disposal cleaning pod that I’m pretty sure it swallowed without chewing before the cleaner had a chance to take effect. Then I tried vinegar. Finally, I tried vinegar + baking soda for my own garbage disposal volcano. It actually worked. But if it wouldn’t have, I would have hit up my peeps at Platinum Plumbing to check it out. I’ll probably still hit them up for that water softener thing.
So, to keep the theme of Thanksgivings gone wrong, picture this: Your house reeks of gross garbage disposal, but you don’t know about it. Fun fact: your body gets used to smells around you so as to not overload your brain. It’s called Olfactory Adaptation, and it’s the reason why you can’t smell your own body odor or breath. Or smelly pipes in your house. Here are a few reasons your pipes may smell and what you can do (a list inside a list, how meta!):
This is your run of the mill buildup from things that go down the drain (e.g., dirt, hair, food, etc). This is where you can run some vinegar or cleaner down the pipes.
This is the problem where your pipes haven’t been used in a long time. Your pipes are curved so as to not let the sewer gas come up and cause a smell. If the water in there evaporates, it lets that smell through. Try running some water for a while and see if that helps.
Clogged Vent Pipes
Most drainpipes have a vent to let fresh air in and odor out. If this is clogged (or you’re a DIY plumber who didn’t install any), this may cause the smell. At this point, you’ll need to call Platinum Plumbing.
Don’t pour grease down your drain. It’s not just the smell. I’ll talk more about it in a minute. Just don’t do it.
So we meet again. I gave you the tips on how to remedy this problem. If that doesn’t work, it may need to be replaced or cleaned by a professional. Luckily, I know a few.
Your sink and bathtub should have a drain trap, and they need to be cleaned. If you don’t have them, or if they are full of uck, call Platinum Plumbing.
Long story short (too late), if you try cleaning your drains and garbage disposal but you still have stinky pipes, call us to help. You don’t want the pipe smell to overpower the turkey smell.
Scenario #2: Sewer Backup
This story also involves my parents, but I’m not exactly the hero in it. When I was a teenager in the 90s, I was quite rebellious and dabbled in cigarettes. While I will not condone or condemn smoking, I will say that I was wrong in smoking underage and doing the thing that I’m about to tell you I did.
As a teenager, and I’m sure you can relate, I thought I had it all figured out. I would steal a pack of cigarettes from my parents, and I thought I hid it well by moving the entire row of cigarette packs forward so they wouldn’t know they were missing any (teenagers, amirite?). Then, my friend and I would share them after school. A half hour before my parents got home, we would get rid of the evidence by flushing the cigarette butts down the toilet. Can you guess what isn’t water soluble or biodegradable? Correct. It’s cigarette butts.
Cut forward a few months and the drain in my basement backs up and the whole house smells like eggs. No amount of Drano or plunging could fix it, so they had to dig up the back yard. Lo and behold, they found a pipe full of what appeared to be cotton (full disclosure, they actually thought we were flushing tampons until I told them years later).
In another instance, in one of my first times cooking, I poured a whole pan of grease down the drain. When my mom got home from work, she almost vomited from the smell (I had been at home the whole afternoon, and I couldn’t smell it thanks to olfactory adaptation). ALL of the drains were backed up from this, and that is when I learned not to pour grease down the drain. Grease, while liquid when you dump it, solidifies very quickly, and it will clog your drains. We have some tips about it in our Garbage Disposal section of our website.
So, to avoid potential drain backup issues during your wonderful Thanksgiving dinner (or just Thanksgiving sitting at home like it’s no different than any other day), avoid putting things in your drains that don’t go there. If you do find yourself with a backup, Platinum Plumbing has emergency services.
Scenario #3: Emergency
Scenarios 1 and 2 are pretty much what I had with backstories, but as I mentioned before, anything could go wrong as exemplified on our Emergency Plumber portion of the website. Have no fear. Platinum Plumbing can save Thanksgiving, and, no matter how upset you are, you will be thankful for their wonderful service, Karen.
If you have an emergency this year or any day, call us at 309-516-0123, and we’ll be there. Always.