Okay, you’ve heard of Black Friday and even Cyber Monday, but have you heard of Brown Friday? This infamous day occurs on the same day of the year—the day after Thanksgiving—as Black Friday, but it has nothing to do with shopping. Instead, this inglorious moniker has everything to do with once-a-year cooks and plumbing.
It Starts with Thanksgiving Dinner
Most of us don’t host tens of people at our homes on a typical Thursday. But things change once a year, on the fourth Thursday in November: Thanksgiving. On this day, we prep, cook, and prepare turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams with marshmallows, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, apple pie, and who knows what else. And for those who don’t cook big meals (or any meals) on a regular basis, they’re not quite as savvy about what to do with leftovers.
Sure, there are those leftovers you save for yummy day-after turkey sandwiches. But there are also those things in the bottom of pans and pots or stuck on guests’ plates. Instead of scraping those remains into the compost bin, garbage can, or even Fido’s plate, thousands of Americans will put them down the disposal. And that can lead to big problems.
Of course, there’s also the overuse of bathroom facilities with all those extra guests, which can cause more drain and plumbing issues.
Defining Brown Friday
Given the bathroom thing, you might have made your own assumptions about what Brown Friday means; but it primarily refers to the brown water that bubbles up, either from kitchen drains or, yes, toilets. According to some plumbers, calls increase up to 50% on the day after Thanksgiving. Homeowners’ pipes have been overextended for the day, and they can’t rectify the situation themselves, so they call in the big guns.
Of course, most homes can handle a little added usage one day a year. Unfortunately for those homeowners with issues, it’s usually because they already had a kitchen plumbing repair need beforehand. It’s just that the weird things that are going into the drains on Thanksgiving have become the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Plumbers have found everything you can imagine in drains on Brown Friday, from parts of the turkey to dentures.
How To Avoid Thanksgiving Plumbing Nightmares
As you ready your home and table for your holiday guests, there are some precautions you can take to avoid having to call your friendly neighborhood plumber on the Friday following Thanksgiving.
- Avoid pouring grease down the drain. Instead, pour any grease or drippings into an empty aluminum can and then toss the can in the garbage after the grease has solidified. (Once cooled, the pets also appreciate the grease on their pet food.)
- As you’re putting food into the disposal, keep the water running and the disposal on. If you push all of the food into the drain and then turn it on, you’ll overwork the motor and could get it stuck.
- Stringy, starchy waste cannot break down in the garbage disposal. Things like fruit and veggie peels or turkey skin should be discarded in the garbage.
- Reserve toilets for human waste only. Feminine products, bathroom wipes, and anything else used in the bathroom should be thrown in the garbage bin.
- If you know that your toilets are running slow, post a sign near the commode: “If it’s yellow; let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.”
- Allow 15 minutes in between showers, especially if you have slow-running drains. This also allows your water heater to resupply its hot water.
Prepare Your Drains before the Holidays
If you have an older home, it might be a smart idea to schedule a precautionary inspection with a professional plumber. That way, you’ll be aware of any issues you have before you welcome a dozen (or more!) guests to your home for Thanksgiving. Sometimes, having your drains snaked beforehand will help you to avoid plugs that turn a fun holiday into a big cleanup session.
To schedule your pre-holiday drain inspection, or if you experience the challenges associated with Brown Friday, keep Staggs Plumbing on speed dial: (972) 379-4000 in Plano or (972) 379-4000 in Rockwall.
We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the blessings of the day.