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Clogged drains: How to avoid a common Thanksgiving issue

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If your garbage disposal jams, ook for a little button underneath the disposal and press it a few times. (Source: 3TV) If your garbage disposal jams, ook for a little button underneath the disposal and press it a few times. (Source: 3TV)
If the reset button does not work, take an Allen wrench (aka a hex key) and put it to the bottom of the disposal, and rotate it. (Source: 3TV) If the reset button does not work, take an Allen wrench (aka a hex key) and put it to the bottom of the disposal, and rotate it. (Source: 3TV)
If your drain is clogged, don't be afraid to gently take apart the P-trap. (Source: 3TV) If your drain is clogged, don't be afraid to gently take apart the P-trap. (Source: 3TV)
"The best thing to definitely do is to put all your food in the trash and do not flush it down your garbage disposal," Brian McQuistion of Plumbing Masters said. "The best thing to definitely do is to put all your food in the trash and do not flush it down your garbage disposal," Brian McQuistion of Plumbing Masters said.
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Thanksgiving is all about food, family and being thankful. But for plumbers, Thanksgiving and the day after means money in their pockets  

"For us plumbers, we're away from our families, and we call it 'Brown Friday.' Brian McQuistion, general manager of Plumbing Masters, said. "We're busy."

Thanksgiving and Friday are the busiest work days of the year for McQuistion and his team.

He said if you don't want to see him, or any licensed plumber this Thanksgiving holiday, then don't put carrot peels or potato peels down your garbage disposal. Those kind of items will definitely clog up your disposal. Celery is also a big no-no, he said. 

"That stuff is very fibrous, and it just doesn't chop up nice and easy," he explained.

Two other big offenders are gravy and grease. McQuistion said don't even think about pouring them down your disposal or drain.

Turkey skin is also bad for your plumbing.  

"There is a little elasticity to it, but you don't want to put that down your drains. It will get stuck down there. You can clearly see the grease and oils that are on my hands," he said as he shredded some of the meat.

So, let's say your garbage disposal does jam up. What do you do?

First of all, look for a little button underneath the disposal and press it a few times. This is the reset button and basically reboots your disposal to start grinding again.

If that doesn't work, take an Allen wrench (aka a hex key) and put it to the bottom of the disposal.  

"You can take the wrench and put it right into the bottom here and rotate it," McQuistion explains. "This will unjam whatever you have stuck in there." 

And finally, if your disposal isn't clogged, but your drain is, don't be afraid to gently take apart what's called the P-trap. It's found underneath your sink. That's where large food items and grease build up, causing you problems.

To avoid any problems that are common on Thanksgiving, McQuistion recommends simply throwing food scraps in the trash can.  

"The best thing to definitely do is to put all your food in the trash and do not flush it down your garbage disposal," he said.

By the way, try running a handful of ice cubes through your garbage disposal. That will keep the teeth on your disposal sharp while helping dislodge any food that could jam up your system.

Copyright 2015 KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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