Common Post-Christmas Plumbing Problems

The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and often, a house full of guests.

While this can create beautiful memories, it can also lead to common plumbing issues that rear their heads after the festivities.

Let’s explore these post-Christmas plumbing problems and how to address them, ensuring your home stays in top shape as you move into the New Year.

Introduction to Post-Christmas Plumbing Problems

The holiday season can be hard on your plumbing. With more people using the facilities, extra cooking, and sometimes freezing temperatures, it’s no surprise that plumbing issues often pop up right after Christmas. These problems can be inconvenient and stressful, but understanding common issues and how to address them can save you a lot of hassle.

Overflowing Toilets

Causes and Signs

During the holidays, toilets are used more frequently, which can lead to clogs and overflows. Common causes include excessive toilet paper, foreign objects, and overuse.

Quick Fixes

If you encounter an overflowing toilet, turn off the water supply to the toilet immediately. Use a plunger to try and clear the blockage. If that doesn’t work, a plumbing snake might be necessary.

Clogged Drains

Kitchen and Bathroom Drains

Holiday cooking and baking can lead to kitchen drains getting clogged with grease, food particles, and other debris. Similarly, bathroom drains can become clogged with hair and soap scum from increased shower use.

DIY Solutions

Try using a plunger or a drain snake to clear the blockage. Pouring boiling water down the drain or using baking soda and vinegar can also help dissolve minor clogs.

Garbage Disposal Issues

Common Problems

Garbage disposals can become overwhelmed with holiday food scraps, leading to jams and clogs. Avoid putting fibrous vegetables, bones, or large amounts of food down the disposal.

Troubleshooting Tips

If your garbage disposal is jammed, turn off the power and use an Allen wrench to rotate the blades manually. Always run cold water while using the disposal to help flush debris through the system.

Leaky Faucets

Why They Occur

Leaky faucets can be a common issue post-Christmas due to the increased usage and potential wear on the fixtures.

Fixing a Leaky Faucet

A leaky faucet can often be fixed by replacing the washer or O-ring. Make sure to turn off the water supply before attempting any repairs.

Water Heater Problems

Increased Demand

With more people in the house, your water heater works overtime during the holidays, leading to issues like insufficient hot water or complete breakdowns.

Maintenance Tips

Ensure your water heater is set to an appropriate temperature (120 degrees Fahrenheit). Regularly inspect and flush the tank to remove sediment buildup.

Burst Pipes

Winter Woes

Cold weather can cause water pipes to freeze and burst, especially if improper insulated.

Prevention and Action

Insulate exposed pipes and keep a trickle of water flowing during extreme cold to prevent freezing. If a pipe bursts, turn off the main water supply and call a professional plumber immediately.

Low Water Pressure

Possible Causes

Low water pressure can result from clogged pipes, leaks, or issues with the main water supply. Increased usage during the holidays can exacerbate these problems.

How to Address It

Check for visible leaks and clean faucet aerators. If the problem persists, it may require professional inspection and repair.

Sewage Backup

A Serious Issue

Sewage backups are serious plumbing problems caused by clogs in the main sewer line, often caused by excessive waste or foreign objects.

Immediate Steps

If you experience a sewage backup, avoid using water in the house and contact a plumber immediately. This is not a DIY job and requires professional handling.

Preventive Measures for Future Holidays

Be Mindful of What Goes Down the Drain

Avoid disposing of grease, fibrous foods, and other problematic items in the sink or garbage disposal.

Stagger Usage

Try to stagger showers, laundry, and dishwasher use to avoid overwhelming your plumbing system.

Regular Inspections

Schedule regular plumbing inspections to catch and address issues before they become major problems.

DIY Fixes vs. Professional Help

When to DIY

Minor clogs and leaks can often be handled with basic tools and a little know-how. DIY fixes suit non-emergency situations where you feel confident in your abilities.

When to Call a Professional

Calling a professional plumber is the best course of action for major issues like burst pipes, sewage backups, or persistent problems that don’t respond to DIY efforts.

Winterizing Your Plumbing System

Insulating Pipes

Insulate exposed pipes to prevent freezing during the winter months. For best results, use foam pipe insulation or heating tape.

Outdoor Faucets

Disconnect hoses and shut off water to outdoor faucets. Drain the faucets to prevent water from freezing and causing damage.

Importance of Regular Maintenance

Routine Checks

Regular maintenance checks can help you identify and fix small issues before they escalate. This includes inspecting pipes, checking for leaks, and ensuring your water heater functions correctly.

Professional Inspections

Having a professional plumber inspect your system annually can provide peace of mind and prevent costly repairs.

How to Choose a Reliable Plumber

Research and Recommendations

Ask for recommendations from friends and family, and read online reviews. Look for plumbers with good reputations and positive feedback.

Verify Credentials

Ensure the plumber is licensed and insured. This protects you in case of accidents or substandard work.

Get Multiple Quotes

Obtain quotes from several plumbers to compare prices and services. This helps ensure you get the best value for your money.


What should I do if my toilet overflows?

Turn off the water supply to the toilet and use a plunger to try and clear the blockage. If this doesn’t work, you may need to use a plumbing snake or call a professional.

How can I prevent clogged drains during the holidays?

Avoid disposing of grease, fibrous foods, and other problematic items in the sink or garbage disposal. Use strainers in your sinks to catch food particles and hair.

What are the signs of a burst pipe?

Signs of a burst pipe include a sudden drop in water pressure, water stains on walls or ceilings, and running water when no faucets are on.

How often should I have my plumbing inspected?

It’s recommended that a professional plumbing inspection is performed annually. Regular checks can help catch issues early and prevent major problems.

What should I do if my water heater stops working?

Check the thermostat and reset it if necessary. If the problem persists, call a professional plumber to diagnose and fix the issue.


Post-Christmas plumbing problems can be a headache, but with a little knowledge and preparation, you can handle many of these issues effectively. Remember to take preventive measures, know your DIY limits, and don’t hesitate to call a professional when needed.

Keeping your plumbing in good shape will ensure you can enjoy the holiday season and beyond without unexpected disruptions.

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