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A Complete Guide to Your Garbage Disposal

June 14th, 2016

When it comes to kitchen plumbing, nothing is quite as mysterious as the garbage disposal. How does the garbage disposal work? What can you safely put down the disposal, and what items will bring it to a screeching halt? How do you get it working again after it breaks down? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about proper garbage disposal maintenance and operation.

How Does My Garbage Disposal Work?

Your garbage disposal is an electric device installed between the sink’s drain and the pipe that takes waste water away from the house. It uses grinding rings to shred food waste into tiny bits. These bits, usually no bigger than two millimeters wide, easily float down the pipes with your dirty dish water. Using a garbage disposal reduces the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills. It also cuts down on the smelly trash accumulating in your kitchen can.

What Can I Put in the Garbage Disposal?

The answer to this question depends on what kind of disposal unit you have. For standard garbage disposals, you can safely grind everyday food scraps and small amounts of vegetable peels. If you purchase a heavy-duty garbage disposal, you may be surprised at all the kitchen scraps you can dispose of down the sink. Corn cobs, peach pits and even chicken bones can be put down the toughest garbage disposals!

How Can I Avoid Garbage Disposal Problems?

Following a few basic plumbing tips will keep your disposal operating smoothly for a long time to come. Always run the cold water when you turn on the garbage disposal and let the water run for a few seconds after you switch off the disposal. Another good rule of thumb is to never put grease or oil down your disposal, even if you have a heavy-duty model. Also, never try to grind things your disposal is not approved for. Last, an easy and affordable way to keep odors at bay is running small pieces of citrus peels through the disposal.

What Should I Do When My Disposal Stops Running?

Losing the use of your garbage disposal can be a kitchen plumbing nightmare — especially if your kitchen sink only has one drain. First things first: Switch off the disposal. Feel down in the device to remove any pieces of debris left inside. Next, open the cabinet under the sink and examine the garbage disposal. Look for a small reset button on the side or bottom of the device and press it once. Turn the cold water back on, and try switching the disposal on. If that doesn’t work, call your plumber to install a new garbage disposal.

Need More Plumbing Tips?

Mr. Rooter of Greater Syracuse can help with all of your plumbing issues, including garbage disposal maintenance. Contact your local plumbing experts today to schedule your appointment.

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