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Winter 2016

Hosting a Christmas Party This Year? No Sweat!

Preparing for a Christmas party can be a stressful event: there’s food to buy, invitations to send, decorations to set up, and music playlists to plan. One thing homeowners often miss in all this planning is whether or not their HVAC system is up to the task of heating a home full of people. No need to worry, however. If you’ve had your HVAC system maintained in the last year (or this fall, if you have a heat pump) then you’re likely in good shape.

But no matter how well your system is maintained, it’s designed to handle the comfort needs of the small number of occupants that are typically present in a home at one time. Our guess is that if you’re hosting a Christmas party, the number of attendants in your home at one time is going to far exceed the average amount of occupants. So, what can you do to fully prepare your HVAC system for your Christmas party?

Take Care of Any Repair Needs

If during your last maintenance visit, your HVAC technician informed you of repair needs—now is the time to get them taken care of. This way you can ensure that your system is in good shape and won’t breakdown during the strain it may undergo this holiday season. This is true no matter what type of heating system you may have.  

Turn Your System on Early Before the Party

A few hours before your first guests are to arrive, turn your system on if it’s not already on. Set it about 5 degrees or more lower than what you find comfortable. You may be a bit chilly for a while, but once more guests come in, you’ll quickly notice the temperature rise.

Using a dehumidifier is another good idea if your Christmas party is during a particularly stuffy week. High humidity is actually a pretty uncomfortable side effect of many large parties, since each person’s exhalations raise moisture levels. If you don’t have a professionally installed dehumidifier, then you can simply run your AC for a couple days before the party to rid your home of at least some excess moisture.

Have Fun!

The most important thing to remember about hosting a Christmas party is to have fun. No matter what little glitches may arise, avoiding stress is as easy as being prepared and remembering what the holiday season is all about—friends, family, and food! 

Don’t Let Your Drains Fall Victim to Heavy Holiday Use

The holidays truly are the best time of the year for many of us. Whatever holidays you may celebrate, however you may choose to celebrate them, surrounding yourself with friends and family is probably one of the highlights. As great as it may be to host company in your home, doing so can really take a toll on your plumbing system. In particular, your drains can really be put to the test over the course of the holidays.

In the spirit of giving, here are a few tips to help you protect your drains when the holiday crowd descends upon your home. 

Having company stay with you means that there are going to be more people than usual bathing and potentially shaving in your house. While you and your family may be diligent in keeping hair out of the bathtub drain and wiping whiskers out of the sink, rather than letting them wash right down the drain, you can’t really expect the same level of diligence from your guests.

Rather than bothering them with such issues, just buy a few drain covers and put them into place before company arrives. That way, your bathroom drains are far less likely to wind up moving slowly, gurgling, or even coming to a full stop when you need them the most.

Prep Food Carefully

A common mistake that people make when it comes to plumbing is thinking that their garbage disposals can handle anything that they toss down the drain. While modern garbage disposals are certainly effective and rugged, there are certain materials that should not be put down them.

When prepping food, avoid putting animal bones and fruit pits down the drain. These very hard items can damage the disposal’s grinding mechanism. If you’re straining pasta or rice, make sure that none of that gets down the drain, either. These items can absorb water, swelling up and causing blockages. Make sure that fibrous food waste, like celery stalks, that tossed in the garbage or compost. That way, their fibers won’t get wrapped up in the disposal’s moving parts.

Be Thoughtful During Cleanup, As Well

Some people really love to cook, but fewer people share that level of enthusiasm when it comes to cleaning up after a big meal. In addition to keeping the materials mentioned above out of the garbage disposal during cleanup, as well as preparation, we want to remind you to avoid pouring grease or fat down the drain, too.

By the time that you’re done eating, you may notice that the grease and fat in the pots and pans has started to congeal. If you were to heat them up again, they’d turn back to liquid. When they hit the pipes after being poured down your drain, these substances can congeal again and cause major blockages. Pour fat and grease off into a container, and dispose of it in the trash.

There you have it: some holiday plumbing tips from the professionals on our team. Enjoy the holidays and eliminate some stress by keeping these tips in mind!