As maddened shoppers swamp stores after Thanksgiving, so too will the unmentionable clog the pipes of homes countrywide during the day plumbers call “Brown Friday.”
Most people know of the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday — a day of great deals and, sometimes, greater risk to life and limb in competing with overly aggressive or desperate shoppers to lay claim to discounted goods. Plumbers, however, have dubbed the day “Brown Friday” for the significant increase in plumbing emergencies that plague families across the country after their Thanksgiving feasts. For shoppers, it is a day of bargains and occasional combat. For plumbers, it is a day of heroic amounts of labor. (RELATED: 44 Million Turkeys, 116 Million Black Friday Shoppers, And All The Other Thanksgiving Stats You Didn’t Know You Needed)
“Thanksgiving can be very hard on your plumbing system, and people don’t want to call anyone on the holiday. So the next day they might need a plumber,” Ryver Baynqs, a service plumber with Anthony, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling in Lenexa, Kansas, told Fox4 News.
“Either your toilet has backed up or your kitchen has backed up from all the extra food,” Baynqs added.
Baynqs said his company sees a 40 to 50 percent increase in business on the day after Thanksgiving.
Brown Friday does not get its name primarily for toilet-related plumbing issues. On the whole, plumbers say the biggest issues usually involve the kitchen sink. Cleaning the kitchen in the haze of post-feast lethargy, or simply in a rush, families will dump food scraps and other items down the sink drain that are too strong for the disposal or too big for the pipes — like turkey wings.
“We’ve retrieved turkey bones, you know big ones too, not something you’d expect to get down there. And grease is one of the big things, because it sticks to everything,” Mike Anson, residential service manager for Goyette Service in Burton, Michigan, told ABC12.
Overuse of the plumbing system during Thanksgiving day also plays a significant factor in the increase in plumbing issues.
“A lot of that is brought on by excessive use of the house,” Jack Hope of Hope Plumbing in Indiana told Fox 59. “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.”
Even the greater Washington, D.C., area is susceptible to the woes of Brown Friday. Michael & Son, a home services company based in the D.C. area, created a map of the local areas that experience the most difficulties with plumbing on Brown Friday. The top five trouble areas, as of 2016, are: Fort Washington, Maryland; Potomac, Maryland; Alexandria, Virginia; the “20011” section of Northeast D.C.; and Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
As for how to avoid Brown Friday troubles, plumbers say some of the best things to do are to keep a drain over the sink, run the disposal for longer, and keep water flowing through the disposal.
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