Quick fixes and tips for plumbing at parties

Plumbing issues can turn a party into a disaster

Whether it’s your Australia Day barbie or a get together to take advantage of the season’s long days, a party can quickly become a disaster if there’s an issue with your pipes. Here are the most common party problems and how to fix or prevent them.

Problem: Lots of people have used the toilet and now it doesn’t flush properly.

Solution: There may be a few reasons why your toilet has stopped flushing properly after frequent use. One is simply that the cistern hasn’t filled quickly enough before the next person has flushed, in which case you can take the cistern lid off and top it up or simply instruct your guests to wait until it has filled up. Another may be that the buttons have become misaligned. Take the cistern lid off to see if the mechanism is working as it should: the buttons inside the lid are draining the water into the bowl, and they are aligned with the mechanism on top of the lid. If all else fails, a bucket flush is the way to go. Fill a bucket with a few litres of water. Flush the toilet by pouring the water swiftly into the bowl, with enough pressure it renews the water inside. Take care not to pour so fast it floods or splashes.

ProblemYour dishwasher breaks down.

Solution: If this happens before the party, consider a menu change with a lot of finger food so people require less cutlery. Disposables can be a good way to deal with a broken dishwasher. If you’re concerned about waste, look for eco-friendly brands that use materials like bamboo, which you can put on your compost pile. If your dishwasher stops mid-cycle, it could be due to a number of factors including power interruption (are there too many lights on? Is your stereo system hogging the electricity?) or a clogged drain. If it’s just a power interruption, restart the dishwasher. If it needs to drain first, run it through a rinse cycle and then start the right cycle. A clogged drain is harder to fix on the spot and it’s often due to not removing large chunks of food before loading the dishwasher. Maybe you were too keen to get back to the party and you weren’t as thorough as you needed to be? You’ll need to stop and call in a professional for this one. If all else fails, switch to a manual setting, that is, a sponge, brush and some detergent!

Problem: The kitchen sink is draining slowly.

Solution:  The most common reason your sink could be draining slowly is a clogged drainage pipe. If the blockage is local you can use a coathanger, a plunger or some hot water mixed with detergent to try to unblock it yourself. Beyond that, it’s a job for a professional plumber that can fix your blocked drain so it is done right – the first time. To prevent this from happening, get a sink strainer so that bits of food don’t enter the system only to clog your pipes. Also remember not to pour fats and oils down the drain as this can form clumps.

What’s your biggest party plumbing nightmare?