Halloween is a time for tricks, treats, ghosts and ghouls, and of course, pumpkin carving. But imagine a nightmare worse than on Elm Street – clogged pipes from pumpkin guts!
Be sure to dispose of your pumpkin guts and seeds properly. Never put them down your sink or flush them down the toilet!
When pumpkin guts dry, they become sticky like glue and can cling to the sides of your pipes causing unwanted build up resulting in a horrifying clog.
Follow these tips to prevent clogged pipes this fall:
- Carve your pumpkins on newspaper or garbage bags for an easy clean up.
- Pile pumpkin guts into a bowl so you can separate the seeds and pulp for cooking tasty treats such as pie, butter, risotto, bisque or simply roast the seeds.
- Wash the sticky guts off your hands using an outside spigot or wipe them down with a paper towel until the pumpkin is completely removed before washing your hands in the sink.
After Halloween is over:
- Dispose of your pumpkins by throwing them in the garbage or compost, or you can bury them! Microbes and other critters in the soil will feast on your old pumpkins and turn them into rich soil.
- Air dry and save your seeds to plant in the spring to grow your own Halloween pumpkin next year.
Now is the time to prep your pipes for plunging temperatures!
Before cold weather sets in:
Winterize your irrigation systems. Make sure that you turn everything off and fully drain or blow-out the system. Be sure to disconnect garden hoses from all spigots.
Identify your home’s freezing points. Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls.
Locate your main shut-off valve. In case of an emergency, you will need to know where your main shut-off valve is located inside the house, and where your curb stop shut-off valve is located outside. If you have an inside meter set, knowing where your curb stop box is located can save you from incurring water damage if there is a leak on your service line.
Strengthen your defenses. Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows, insulating walls and attics, and plugging drafts around doors. Keep the heat set at no lower than 55 degrees when you are away from home.
Protect your pipes. Insulate exposed and unprotected pipes by wrapping them with insulation or heat tape. Seal any cracks or holes in your walls using foam installation or caulk.
When temperatures stay below freezing:
Keep interior doors open. If pipes run though cabinets or vanities, open the doors to let warmer room temperatures flow in.
Keep garage doors closed. If you have water supply lines located in your garage be sure to keep your garage closed as much as possible to limit pipe exposure to freezing temps.
Allow faucet to drip. Keep water moving through the pipes by allowing a very small trickle of water to run. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.
If your pipes do freeze:
Shut off water immediately. Do not attempt to thaw pipes without turning off the main shut-off valve.
Thaw pipes with warm air. You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming the air around it with a hair dryer or space heater.
Be careful turning water back on. Once the pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and check pipes and joints for any cracks or leaks that might have been caused by freezing.