Local plumbers prepare for ‘Brown Friday’ with expected spike in plumbing nightmare calls after Thanksgiving

AKRON, Ohio — It’s the busiest time of year, but not for reasons you think.

Jeremy McCoy with H. Jack’s Plumbing & Heating Co. in Akron says every Black Friday, his team is overwhelmed with calls about plumbing nightmares.

The day is so overwhelming, it’s often referred to as “Brown Friday.”

“Everybody’s out shopping and we’re generally cleaning up messes for people,” he said. “We’re one of the few companies to actually answer the phone all the time. So, we’ve had people tell us, you know, I’ve called 13 people and nobody’s answering.

McCoy says most issues reported are often preventable, but it starts with protecting your pipes.

“People think that their garbage disposals are garbage cans, and that’s probably your biggest problem.”

McCoy says make sure to scrape leftover grease, oils and any food off any cookware and put it in the trash or an empty container. Though if anything does go down the drain, mixing baking soda and vinegar or even ice can help with cleanup.

The best thing you can do is when you finish dinner is to scrape your plated with the garbage and then whatever little pieces get washed in the sink or in your dishwasher, whatever, those are fine,” McCoy explained. “There aren’t blades in your disposal. They just knock it around and make it smaller. So, people think it just eats it up, you know? That’s not how it works.”

McCoy says solutions like Drano may not be the best for clogged drains.

“People love to put Drano on everything. Please, please don’t. Someone is going to have to come and snake that open…Drano does not work. If, Drano worked, none of us would snake drains. So, you know, that’s a big part of our business,” McCoy said. “Plus, if you have older pipes, it will eat away at those over time, and that’s not a good thing.”

Jennifer Elting with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District says to try to remember the acronym “F.O.G.”

“It stands for fats, oils and grease and anything like salad dressing, cheese, milk, butter, obviously cooking oil. You do not want to run that down your drain. She said. “They especially love to bind with flushable wipes.”

Speaking of flushable wipes, McCoy says, “you should never, ever flush a flushable wipe. Just throw out a garbage can.”

He added, “It’s easier to wrap up a bag of garbage and take it to your can outside than it is to call us.”

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