Chips? Check. Drinks? Check. Pizza and wings? Check and check. Toilet functioning at 100 percent?

It wouldn't be the first thing on my checklist for a Super Bowl party, but Linda Stanfield of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing says your toilet is an important part of the party. In fact, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing prepares for the worst on Super Bowl Sunday with extra plumbers on call for emergencies. Stanfield says they typically see calls rise 75 percent on that Sunday, and they're all toilet or garbage disposal related.

It makes sense when you think about it that a toilet would get a little extra work around the Super Bowl. The entire celebration centers around food and drinks, and lots of people around the television. Stanfield says she's walked through a water treatment plant and has been told the spike in water usage during half time of the Super Bowl is definitely noticeable.

She recommends a few things to keep the party and your pipes running smoothly.

"I always recommend knowing your toilet and your bathroom," Stanfield said. "Look, feel, hear the toilet. Understand the look and shape of your toilet. Sometimes there's a hairline crack and a guest will go to sit on it and it'll completely break. Look at the toilet, make sure it's working right. Does it flush in one flush? Does the handle need to be held down to flush longer? Those are all things where the toilet is telling you it's not working properly."

Once you know whether or not a toilet is working properly assess how much use that toilet may get throughout the day. How many people are you expecting? Is there a different toilet in the house that may be able to handle the pressure a little better?

"Another tip is to look around the toilet," Stanfield said. "Notice what you have lying around, whether it's paper towels, decorative hand towels or wipes. Those are all things that may be accidentally bumped into toilets with guests or purposely flushed down the toilet. If you don't know your toilet and the drain line you don't want those anywhere around to cause problems. It can be a big issue."

If your toilets are a little sensitive Stanfield suggests switching to one-ply toilet paper for the day. She says most guests won't notice the switch, but the single-layered paper will dissolve and flush much easier.

Finally, if there is a problem, Stanfield suggests taking care of it later and not putting guests in a position where they feel a need to try and fix it.

"I've heard all sorts of horror stories of people running into more trouble when they try to fix the toilet themselves," Stanfield said. "I even know of one person whose friend fell in the bathtub and broke his arm trying to fix the toilet. I guess these stories are the ones you remember more because the rest of the party you just ate, drank and cheered. As hosts of parties we want to make sure we put our guests at a comfortable level and they have a good time."

It's an awful feeling to see water in the toilet rise and wonder if it's all your fault. Stanfield says most of the time it's just about proper toilet maintenance, and that's not a position you want to put your guests in. So next year, plan ahead, get to know your toilet and make sure it's ready for its busiest day of the year.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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