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Forget Black Friday; plumbers prepare for Brown Friday

Roto-Rooter is encouraging Americans to get their plungers ready as the company sees a spike in calls the day after Thanksgiving.
Person uses a plunger on a toilet.
Posted at 10:28 AM, Nov 17, 2023

One of the nation's largest plumbing repair companies said it expects to be quite busy the day after Thanksgiving on a day it dubs "Brown Friday." 

Roto-Rooter said it experiences a 50% increase in call volume the day after Thanksgiving compared to an average Friday. The company also said it has a 21% uptick in business over any other four-day weekend period. 

The company said Thanksgiving gatherings and meals can overload kitchen sinks, garbage disposals, toilets and main sewers.

"Extra guests mean more toilet flushes, showers, dishwasher and laundry loads, and garbage disposal usage. Simply put, Thanksgiving puts a heavy strain on American plumbing systems and it keeps our plumbers super busy the next day," said Paul Abrams, Roto-Rooter spokesman.

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According to Yelp,Portland, Oregon, has the highest number of searches related to emergency plumbers, including clogged up toilets and leaky faucets, on Brown Friday. Virginia Beach, Virginia; Raleigh, North Carolina; Indianapolis; and Jacksonville, Florida, round out the top 5 for Brown Friday-related searches. 

Roto-Rooter issued the following tipsto prevent drain trouble during Thanksgiving weekend:

- Never pour grease, turkey drippings or cooking oil down drains. They solidify in pipes like candle wax and choke drains.

- Don't put potato peels, poultry skins, bones, rice or pasta down the garbage disposal. Disposals can handle small quantities of scraps, but most food should go into the trash can or compost pile.

- Make sure the garbage disposal is running when you add food scraps.

- Don't flush wet wipes down toilets. Most won't dissolve and may clog drainpipes and sewers.

- Place plungers in guest bathrooms to save guests the embarrassment of asking for one.

- Spread out showers and laundry loads so pipes have time to drain.