Good Practices Today Can Prevent Major Plumbing And Drain Problems Tomorrow!
If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen, you know that it’s a great appliance that makes household duties less demanding. But if not operated or maintained properly a garbage disposal can easily break down, block and clog the drains and cause a long list of expensive plumbing and drain nightmares.
Clogged drains are a major inconvenience and garbage disposal repair can be a costly proposition. Fortunately, most garbage disposal troubles are completely unnecessary, and garbage disposal care and maintenance is extremely easy. Treat your garbage disposal well, and it will treat you well in return. Below, we describe mistakes you should avoid and the actions you should take in order to keep your garbage disposal working smoothly for many years and minimize the likelihood that you’ll need to call for plumbing and drain cleaning services.
Acceptable Garbage Disposal Usage:
- Do keep your garbage disposal clean. Pour a little soap inside and let the garbage disposal run for a minute or so with some cold water after washing dishes.
- Do run your garbage disposal regularly. Frequent use prevents rust and corrosion, assures that all parts stay moving and prevents obstructions from accumulating.
- Do grind food waste with a strong flow of cold water. Why cold water? It will cause any grease or oils that may get into the unit to solidify, so that they can be chopped up before reaching the trap.
- Do grind peelings from citrus fruits such as lemons or oranges to freshen up drain smells.
- Do cut large items into smaller pieces. Put them into the garbage disposal one at a time instead of trying to shove a large amount in at once.
Unacceptable Garbage Disposal Usage:
- Don’t grind glass, plastic, metal, or paper.
- Don’t grind anything combustible.
- Don’t grind cigarette butts.
- Don’t pour grease, oil, or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal’s grinding ability as well as clog drains.
- Don’t use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
- Don’t grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes. Fibers from these can tangle and jam the garbage disposal motor and block drains.
- Don’t turn off motor or water until grinding is completed. When grinding is complete, turn off the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds, flushing out any remaining particles. Then turn water off.
- Don’t put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal. The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause the blades to stick.
- Don’t put large amounts of food down the garbage disposal. Feed food into the garbage disposal a little at a time with the cold water running; this will help the food scraps flow down freely through the drain pipes and plumbing.
- Don’t put expandable foods into your garbage disposal. Foods like pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot and they do the same thing once inside your plumbing pipes or garbage disposal and are the cause of many clogged plumbing pipes.
- Don’t grind large animal bones (beef, pork, etc.)
- Avoid putting coffee grounds down the garbage disposal as they can accumulate in drains and pipes, causing clogs.
- Don’t use harsh chemicals bleach or drain cleaners. They can damage blades and pipes. Grind sliced lemons or oranges to clean garbage disposal and eliminate odors.
Keeping Your Garbage Disposal Running Problem Free:
Ice is an extremely effective and inexpensive method for cleaning your garbage disposal, sharpening the blades and breaking up any grease build up which has accumulated. Just toss a few ice cubes into the garbage disposal and run it. As the garbage disposal chops into the ice cubes, the ice chips will effectively scour all the hard to reach areas of the unit, and melt down the drain. Try this once or twice a month to keep garbage disposal in fine working order.
To Remove Or Prevent Nasty Garbage Disposal Smells:
- Periodically take lemon or orange slices and toss it into the disposal. The oils from the fruits and peels naturally clean the walls inside the garbage disposal and create a fresh long lasting scent.
- For stubborn odors pour baking soda into the drain and let it set for several hours before running the water and garbage disposal.
- For really stubborn odors, use a safe cleaning product like Borax. Just pour 3-4 tablespoons of Borax down the drain and let it set for an hour. Then turn on hot water and flush the borax out of plumbing and disposal.
Tips For Removing Objects From Garbage Disposal:
Make sure power is off to the unit and that no one is in close proximity that will accidentally turn the unit on while you are attempting to remove the object from the garbage disposal. Use a flashlight to locate the object and use needle nose pliers to remove object.
What To Do If Your Garbage Disposal Is Not Operating:
- 90% of garbage disposals that appear not to be working just need to be reset. There is usually a red or black reset button on the bottom of the garbage disposal. Push to reset.
- Make sure garbage disposal is plugged in or check tripped circuit breaker in electric panel (usually located inside the house or garage).
- If the garbage disposal is humming this generally means that the blades are frozen in place. If you attempt to use the disposal while blades are stuck, the disposal will hum and then will shut off requiring a reset of the reset button. Most garbage disposal come with a wrenchette (allen wrench) and is generally found in the kitchen cabinets of your apartment. This wrenchette can be inserted into the hole in the bottom of the disposal and can be turned to free blades. Once blades are free you can push the reset button and the disposal should be operable.
- Please submit a maintenance request after trying these steps if you are still having issues with the disposal.