Plumbers describe day after Thanksgiving as ‘Brown Friday’

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -  While some see the day after Thanksgiving as a big day filled with shopping, plumbers are always busy handling emergency calls.

Many people have begun preparing a large turkey dinner and setting up the home to handle a couple dozen guests. Plumbers want people to remember it can take a toll on your home.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is known in the industry as "Brown Friday," and is known as the busiest day of the year.

"A lot of that is brought on by excessive use of the house," said Jack Hope, an owner at Hope Plumbing. "Folks have guests over, they are doing a bunch of cooking, the toilets are getting flushed a hundred times a day, instead of three. The sink is getting run constantly, the garbage disposal. We’re cooking a bunch and shoving stuff down drains that typically don’t go down drains."

Hope said most homeowners don't ask for a plumber to come out on Thanksgiving, but it occasionally happens.

Instead, messages are left for staff to respond to as soon as offices open Friday morning. Most calls for the day are all related to an emergency pipe or drain issue that took place on Thanksgiving Day.

Hope said the only time that is nearly as busy is following a deep freeze where homes see pipes burst from freezing.

"Nobody is ever super happy to see us, but they are extra not happy to see us when it’s on the holidays," said Hope. "They want to avoid it and it’s frustrating."

Hope and other plumbers CBS4 spoke with said the biggest issue they'll come across is related to clogged garbage disposals.

"Garbage disposals or clogged kitchen sink lines in general," said Hope. "You’re kind of lucky if it's just the disposal because it’s kind of easy. It’s more work if that clog is further down the line."

Hope said the best advice is for people to run their disposal longer than they think is needed.

"It's not going to hurt it to leave it on for 30 seconds or a minute," said Hope.

It's also recommended to keep water running longer after the grinder is turned off. Hope said the water helps clear everything out and further prevents build up.

FOX59 found several plumbing companies mention the issues people could face on Friday and offered a variety of tips. Some of the common ones are:

  • Remember to only flush human waste and toilet paper down a toilet. The website lentheplumber reminds people to not send sanitary napkins, flushable wipes, cleaning wipes, facial cleansing pads, cotton balls & swabs, or paper towels. Some sites say a friendly reminder sign could help and watch young ones who might try to flush small toys.
  • If guests are showering, try to wait 10 to 15 minutes between each use. JohnCFlood.com recommends the waiting time to give pipes a chance to naturally unclog hair. Not to mention the delay will keep the water heater filled for the next user.
  • Use a sink strainer. The website superterry.com says the strainer can prevent clogs and from someone losing utensils down the drain.

Hope added that he believed most people didn't need to make an emergency call on Brown Friday twice, as they learn from the first time how to prevent a plumbing mess from happening again.

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