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Grease from Thanksgiving dinner causes trouble in pipes, sewers

This Thanksgiving, you might want to put your plumber on speed dial: The grease from the turkey and all the fixings can congeal inside of pipes, clogging up drains and leading to a huge increase in calls for help.

The congealed waste can also get down into the sewer and wreak havoc; in 2013, 62 percent of blockages in the New York City sewer system were caused by grease. And the kitchen isn't the only part of the house affected over the holidays; extra guests means extra showers, which can overwhelm drains, and some folks like to flush things like cotton balls and swabs down the toilet. "Your house kind of has a heart attack," Paul Abrams, a spokesman for Roto Rooter, told Reuters. "All that extra activity is enough to push it over the edge."

To avoid having to call a plumber over the holiday, follow these tips: Don't dispose of grease down the drain, but rather pour it into a container, let it congeal, and then throw it away. Don't put stringy and fibrous waste in the disposal, and make sure you run the garbage disposal for 20 to 30 seconds so you know it's clear. Tell your house guests to wait 10 minutes between showers to ensure the drains can clear, and please remind everyone not to flush wipes, cotton swabs, and paper towels down the toilet.