Show Notes: Home Security & Holiday Plumbing
Getting ready for Thanksgiving? Don’t set yourself up for a holiday plumbing horror story by knowing what goes down the drain and what does not. If you’re planning on being away from home for the holiday, how about some well timed low tech security tips to keep your home safe. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you to our guests:
Debbie Groshek with Insinkerator and Brad Loveless with Simpson Doors
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How To Protect Your Plumbing From Holiday Horrors
Holiday dinners and the days after — Black Friday in particular — make this a busy and lucrative season for plumbers. Don’t be among their customers.
Black Friday is also the single busiest day for residential plumbers, according to Roto-Rooter. While the volume of guests may cause some problems in the bathroom, it is major meal preparation that makes the kitchen the site of most plumbing problems. The company says its kitchen calls generally jump 50 percent on the day after Thanksgiving.
Here are three easy ways to avoid calling the plumber on Black Friday, so you can spend the day doing what you like to do — whether that is sleeping off the turkey or going elbow-to-elbow with other people for doorbuster deals.
Don’t put that down the drain!
Indoor plumbing is an amazing invention, and your kitchen sink can make cleanup a breeze. Pour in liquids or use the disposal to grind up scraps. Then, turn on the water, and it’s all magically swept away. That is, except when it gets stuck in the pipes.
Yes, the No. 1 culprit for plumbing problems after Thanksgiving is homeowners trying to use their sink or garbage disposal as a garbage can, resulting in clogged pipes.
Keep the water flowing smoothly by remembering these things should never go down your sink, even if you run them through a garbage disposal:
- Cooking oils
- Potato and onion peels
- Fibrous vegetables like celery and pumpkin
- Skin from poultry
Keep drains clear through the holidays
Next, if you are having visitors, be aware of the demands you are putting on your plumbing system.
Ask guests to wait 15 minutes between showers to allow time for the drains to clear. Also make sure you have clean, empty trash receptacles in each bathroom so visitors won’t feel they have to flush something that they shouldn’t.
And after dinner, when your guests are helping with cleanup, put a garbage bin (or compost bucket) front and center in the kitchen so everyone knows to scrape the dishes there. If you do use your garbage disposal, start the water and disposal first before emptying plates of food into the sink.
No-Tech Home Security Techniques
Not everything requires a gadget. Here are ways to up your home security without downloading a single app:
- Hire a house sitter. Then someone will be home.
- If there’s snow, have a neighbor walk up and down the path to your door, shovel a passage up to the garage door and drive in and out of the driveway. If it’s hot out, ask them to keep your plants looking fresh with regular waterings. And don’t forget to bring them a nice gift from your getaway.
- Ask friends, family, or neighbors to just be present on your property — use your patio, play in your yard, or bring in the mail.
- Invite a neighbor to keep a car parked in your driveway. During the holidays, they may be happy if they need overflow for visitors.
- Install a fake security camera for as low as $8. Burglars may not notice these fakes don’t have all the wiring necessary to be real. And their blinking red lights offer reasonable doubt.
- Get a dog. A real dog. While you’re at work or running errands, nothing deters bad guys and gals like a barking, slobbery security guard. And when you go away, having a pet sitter stay can be as economical as some boarding facilities (especially if you have multiple dogs), and you’ll get the benefit of a human and canine sentinel.
Maintenance Tips To Make Your Power Tools Last Longer
The biggest factor in power tool failure and a shortened lifespan is neglect!
Most power tools come with a warranty, however many of these companies won’t honor the warranty if serious neglect is evident.
Cleaning your power tools:
Making sure that your tools are clean after use may sound like common sense but it’s very easy to overlook this important part of maintaining power tools. Dust and debris can dramatically shorten the lifespan of a power tool. Small particles that are not cleaned from the casing and air vents of the power tool will make their way to the inside of the tool and stick to the electrical and mechanical parts. These particles harden due to the heat generated by the tool, causing wear and deterioration.
A big part of the performance of a cordless tool is the battery. Looking after the battery will ensure a much longer lifespan. Here are a few points to remember;
- Keep the battery charged. Always put it back on charge after use.
- Never run the battery down completely. Cordless tool batteries last much longer when they are charged before they reach 50% of capacity.
- Charge the battery fully before use.
- Never leave the battery on charge for long periods after it is fully charged.
- Use battery regularly. The lifespan of a battery that is not used often is noticeably shorter than a battery that is frequently used.
- Make sure never to overheat the battery. When the battery feels too hot, stop working and let the battery cool down.
- Keep the battery dry.
When using a portable generator, it is important to take precautions for your safety and the safety of those in your home. Follow these guidelines for safe generator use:
- Read the manufacturer’s safety and operating manual before using your generator.
- Never leave your generator running when you are away from your home or business.
- Check your generator regularly during operation.
- Use caution when touching your generator as many areas become hot and can burn you.
Be Sure Generator is Connected Correctly to Avoid Electrical Hazards
Electricity supplied by a generator has the same hazards as your regular utility-supplied electricity. You can face additional risks if your generator bypasses safety devices, such as circuit breakers, that are built into your electrical systems. Travelers recommends contacting an electrical contractor or the generator manufacturer for the proper installation of your generator.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for properly grounding your generator to help avoid electrical shock.
- Be sure your hands are dry and that you are not standing in water before touching the generator.
- Never plug your generator into a wall outlet.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator using manufacturer-specified cords or three-pronged extension cords with the proper amperage rating for the intended use.
- Be aware that portable generators become hot while running and remain hot for a significant amount of time after they are shut down, creating a potential fire hazard.