America’s favorite shopping holiday, Black Friday, is about to be subsumed by a new plumbing holiday. “Brown Friday,” as it’s being called, is the busiest day of the year for our country’s plumbers, according to Roto-Rooter, who released a public service statement last week.
The cause of Brown Friday should be fairly clear if the name doesn’t entirely spell it out. Roto-Rooter reported that calls from those urgently seeking plumbers typically increase by 48–50 percent the day after Thanksgiving, compared to an average Friday. Over the four-day holiday weekend, the company usually sees a 21 percent jump in service requests.
“The uptick in business on Brown Friday and the holiday weekend has been remarkably consistent year after year for a 20-year period,” Paul Abrams, Roto-Rooter’s spokesperson, told Men’s Journal. “We were particularly interested in the impact that COVID-19 would have on our calls in 2020 and were surprised to see that it didn’t impact them at all.”
The primary locations of clogs are kitchen sinks, shower drains, and toilets. Most of the time, stoppages don’t materialize entirely on the day of Thanksgiving. Rather, the clogs are already forming, and the influx of food scraps, as well as heavy oils, fats, and gravy, allow them to materialize even faster. Holiday guests who stay overnight also add to drain strain, with more people taking showers and utilizing plumbing facilities.
Abrams told Men’s Journal that there’s one particularly common, and utterly silly, source of clogged drains. “Potato peels in the kitchen sink,” he said succinctly. “People continue to peel potatoes over the sink and then push the peels down into the garbage disposal. The disposal pulverizes them into a sticky, starchy goo that chokes off the drainpipe,” Abrams explained. “Rice has a similar effect in big quantities, consistent with big holiday meal prep.”
Abrams provided a few tips for hosts to make sure their plumbing systems are in healthy shape for the busy holiday. “If there are already slow drains in the house, treat them now or have them professionally cleaned before the holiday,” he recommends, “especially if you’re hosting a crowd and or having overnight or weekend guests who will be taking showers, washing clothes, and putting a strain on your already fragile drainage system.”
Most importantly, Abrams says, “Keep a plunger in the bathroom to save your guests from the ‘walk of shame’ to ask for one after they’ve clogged a toilet. Space out showers and laundry loads to give your pipes time to drain.”
The company additionally reminded cooks to never dump fats or oils down drains for any reason. The best way to dispose of grease is to wipe the dish with paper towels and toss them in the trash. It’s also imperative to run the garbage disposal before refuse is thrown in, rather than filling it to the top and then activating it.
If you happen to still encounter plumbing issues, Roto-Rooter always staffs additional technicians for Brown Friday. On the bright side, a visit from the plumber will give you time to pop down to the store for some Black Friday deals. Two holidays in one is truly something to be thankful for.