Plumbing Tips for a Spook-less Halloween 

Let’s keep this Halloween all treats and no tricks by avoiding a call out the plumber for a stoppage at your kitchen sink. Carving pumpkins with our families can be incredibly fun, and incredibly messy, and it is often tempting to put all that gunk right down your disposal. It is inevitable that every year we hear the same scary story from a client and end up clearing their disposal or drain line of pumpkin guts. Disposals are not all created equal, so yours might not be able to take as many scraps as your friends’, and honestly your drain line is usually the culprit.  The drain line for your kitchen sink has a small diameter, and over time it can accumulate build up of grease and sludge decreasing its size.   

Many homes in the Phoenix area have a two-bay kitchen sink which means that if you have a disposal, you have what is known as a disposal tee. This tee is often where the culprit of food related stoppages lies. This tee restricts the flow of thicker products as the diameter of the pipe at this tee is dramatically reduced. The restriction of the diameter of your drain line from buildup and the restriction at this tee is why we advise clients to be cautious when putting items down their disposal, especially items like seeds and stringy vegetables – which of course is the exact structure of the inside of squashes like pumpkins.  

Cook

A great way to carry on the fun of making a Jack-O-Lantern this year is to clean and cook those seeds. There are tons of great recipes and instructions online for roasting pumpkins that range from savory, to sweet and even spicy. My husband doesn’t think roasting seeds is worth the time and energy, but we agree to disagree on this one. I love roasted pumpkin seeds with crazy flavors and tossing them on fall salads, soups (my favorite) and roasted vegetables. Some great recipes I’ve tried online are linked below, see if your family loves them too!  

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds 

Homemade Cinnamon Sugar Pumpkin Seeds   

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds 

Compost

If the process of roasting and recycling your pumpkin seeds doesn’t sound too appealing, then you can compost them. The insides of your pumpkin, including the seeds, are great for composts- you can even put the Jack-O-Lantern in the compost when Halloween is over! If you’re into gardening, or know someone that is, this is a great way to be resourceful and replenish your garden while avoiding the hassle of managing the seeds any further. It’s even easier than trying to process all of that mess down your disposal!

Down the Disposal 

You must be a daredevil this Halloween! You still want to put your pumpkin mess down the disposal? I get it, I’m a rebel too, that’s why I bought a big-daddy disposal that could handle any chaos I throw at it, and I have my kitchen sink line jetted every two years to keep them looking like new. Many kitchen projects are sticky, gross, slimy and difficult to deal with. If you’re insisting on putting the insides of your pumpkin down the disposal this holiday season, do so with caution while following these guidelines of proper disposal use: 

  1. Turn the cold water on at your kitchen sink and allow it to flow down the disposal 
  2. Turn the disposal on 
  3. Put the pumpkin waste down the disposal in half cup intervals and not all at once. 
  4. Listen for the disposal to sound clear of debris before adding anymore waste to the disposal 
  5. When finished processing the pumpkin waste, allow the cold water to continue to run for at least 15 more seconds to help wash and carry the waste out of the disposal compartment and drain line 
  6. Bonus tip – follow this procedure up with a large amount of ice to help clean out the disposal compartment to your disposal doesn’t smell later and pumpkin debris is not allowed to harden and stick to the inside of your disposal.