Black Friday busiest day of year for plumbers

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Staff Writer
Published: 11/28/2019 10:57:15 PM

You’ve heard of Black Friday. But how about Brown Friday, as some in the business call it?

The day after Thanksgiving stands not only as a time of massive retail bargains and the epitome of American consumerism, but also as perhaps the busiest day of the year for plumbers. A noticeable spike in service calls, sometimes as much as 50 percent, are created by an influx of attempted speedy do-it-yourself projects combined with large amounts of food down garbage disposals during meal preparation and an increase in people using toilets after heavy dining.

Skip Descavich of Descavich Plumbing & Heating of Greenfield said the rumors are true.

“We’re really busy that day,” he said. “I’ve got clients that will do the same thing year after year after year.”

He has been in the business 40 years, and said many people stuff an unreasonable amount of food down their sinks in their haste to prepare meals in time for the arrival of friends and family. Also, the hearty grub and large quantities mean Americans “plug up the sewer system.”

Brown Friday is the plumbing industry’s playful term for the day after Thanksgiving, making an unsavory reference to the increase in volume handled by septic and sewer systems.

Brian Lafave, who has been in the trade since graduating high school in 2006, said food and grease wreak havoc on kitchen drains, and people on Thanksgiving tend to use bathrooms that are not used the rest of the year. The founder of Lafave Plumbing & Heating of Greenfield said the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest of the year because people want to get their plumbing project completed by Dec. 25. Lafave said he typically does not take on projects this time of year because of the volume of emergency calls coming in.

Jason Prats, an employee at Franklin County Plumbing Supply, said the business at 340 Chapman St. in Greenfield sees a hike in the materials it sells to plumbers in the run-up to Thanksgiving. Plumbers stock up on the supplies they will need to handle calls they receive in the days and weeks following the food-centric holiday.

Roto-Rooter, the chain of plumbing and drain-cleaning services, has a list of recommendations to help avoid issues that will require an emergency call to a plumber.

■Fats and cooking oils solidify in pipes, so never pour them down a drain. Instead, wipe grease from pots with paper towels and throw the paper towels in the trash.

■Avoid putting stringy, fibrous or starchy waste in the garbage disposal. For example, poultry skins, celery, and fruit and potato peels cannot be sufficiently broken down.

■Make sure the disposal is running when you put food into it. Don’t wait until it’s full to turn it on.

■For homes hosting overnight guests, it’s a good idea to wait 10 minutes between showers so slow drains have time to do their job.

■Never flush cotton balls, swabs, hair or wet wipes down a toilet. They don’t dissolve and will cause clogs. Place a wastebasket in the bathroom so these items won’t be flushed.

■Try to address any plumbing problems before the holiday and before guests arrive. However, in the case of holiday plumbing emergencies, don’t hesitate to ask a plumber, up front, about extra holiday service fees. As always, know your DIY limits. Often, minor plumbing problems turn into plumbing catastrophes if not handled properly.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or
413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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