Are You Using Your Garbage Disposal Correctly? We’ll Show You How!

A garbage disposal unit will add convenience to your kitchen duties. This time saving machine allows you to dispose of most food waste through the drain rather than placing foul smelling organic material into your trashcan.  Are you utilizing your garbage disposal correctly?  Operating the unit incorrectly can result in plumbing problems, such as plumbing drain clogs and water pipe leaks.

Here is a detailed look at some garbage disposal clogs and leaks which will help you diagnose your current situation and get the most efficient use out of your grinding machine:

Clogged disposal drain—When you experience a slow drain connected to the garbage disposal or if water refuses to move at all, most likely the grinding blades have become jammed.  The jam is caused by placing too much food in the disposal at once or dropping in hard-to-grind and highly fibrous items, such as bones, potato skin, celery, etc.  Even silverware can slip down the hole and become lodged which will immediately stop the grinding blades.

Disposal leaking around the top—A leaking disposal can damage the items you store beneath the sink and the floor of your sink base cabinet. When a garbage disposal leaks from the top, it may require a new flange gasket, O-ring or splash guard, (parts used to create a seal between connections), to stop the disposal from leaking during operation.  This leak is destructive, but most likely will not render the garbage disposal unit to stop working.

Disposal leaks around the bottom or side—Slow-draining water or water that fails to drain from the garbage disposal below the sink is often caused by a jammed grinding blade. It may seem redundant that every bit of advice found about garbage disposal problems lead to jammed grinding blades, but most of the time, it is exactly what happens.

Below we share some insight on preventing garbage disposal problems and some great suggestions to keep this fabulous time saver working properly, especially with the holidays approaching – the time of the year that most kitchen plumbing problems happen!

Are you ready to replace an old garbage disposal that doesn’t operate the way it should?  Call us today for a free evaluation of your kitchen plumbing system.  Available 24/7 – including weekends and holidays with no trip fees or overtime charges!  Take the worries away with just one call to us today!  Ask about our drain maintenance programs!

Do You Understand How the Garbage Disposal Works?  We Can Educate You!

The garbage disposal mounts to the underside of your sink and is either hard-wired to an electric circuit or plugs into an outlet. The food waste goes into the drain that has been plumbed to the unit and enters the grinding chamber.  The distance between the entrance hole and the grinding blades that rotate very fast is very close so under no circumstance should you ever place your hand into that hole.  Not even for a split second to try and grab a piece of silverware that accidentally drops.  As you feed food waste through the top of the disposal with a steady stream of water the waste is ground into small pieces. The chopped up food then passes easily through the drain, hopefully, without any clogs

To Grind or Not To Grind?  Find Garbage Disposal Answers Here!

What is a garbage disposal for?  A garbage disposal is a machine that is primarily used to shred food waste into super small pieces that won't clog pipes. Basically, the smartest rule of garbage disposal usage is never grind it—if it isn't biodegradable. Your garbage disposal is a big help in the kitchen. But what can it really handle? Some things might make total sense, but it's important to re-think the things that should actually go down your drain and into that fabulous grinding machine!

These are things you CAN put into the garbage disposal unit:

  • Fruits: Apples, oranges, bananas, berries, cherries, cumquats, kiwi and grapes—small sections of citrus fruits naturally clean your disposal and leave your drain smelling fresh and clean;
  • Coffee grounds: The general consensus is small amounts of coffee grounds are OK to put down your drain. And they also leave your disposal smelling fresh. Large amounts can accumulate in pipes and create backups;
  • Egg shells: The hard shells can help clean and sharpen garbage disposal blades;
  • Cooked meat scraps: Food scraps leftover from dinner are fine if they end up in the garbage disposal after washing dishes. Just avoid large amounts or big chunks.
  • Small bones: If a few small bones end up in your disposal, it's totally OK;
  • Most vegetable scraps: Pretty much all veggies are fine to let run through the garbage disposal. There are a few that are too fibrous and are hard on your disposal, which we list below.

These are things you CANNOT put into the garbage disposal unit:

*There are a few biodegradable items that aren't a good idea for disposals, such as:

  • Fruit pits: Fruit pits are best to be deposited in your compost or garbage, not the disposal;
  • Large bones: Never try to shove something into the disposal that is too big; toss big bones in the compost or trash;
  • Shrimp shells: Shrimp shells are pretty tough and very smelly;
  • Banana peels: Super fibrous, toss your banana peels in the compost instead;
  • Nuts: Imagine peanut butter in your garbage disposal for a moment; not recommended;
  • Grease: Avoid pouring grease or anything super fatty down your drain or in your garbage disposal. It congeals and will DEFINITELY clog your pipes;
  • Corn husks: Husks are another fibrous material that cause your disposal to work hard;
  • Onion skins: Not recommended for the garbage disposal;
  • Artichokes: Leaves are really tough and can get caught in the disposal blades;
  • Potato peels: Potatoes are really starchy, which isn't a good combination with your garbage disposal — or your drain. This includes yams and sweet potatoes, too;
  • Asparagus: Another fibrous and stringy vegetable that isn't good for the blades of your disposal;
  • Pasta: Pasta expands in pipes, even after it's been shredded and WILL cause stubborn, resistant clogs;
  • Rice: Just like pasta, rice expands so avoid letting it slip into your disposal.

If you experience any type of kitchen sink plumbing problems, we can help. We offer a free evaluation by a professional plumber. We are available 24/7, never a trip fee or overtime charge. We can get your kitchen plumbing working smoothly again!

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