Garbage Disposals

Garbage Disposals Can Be Useful Kithen Appliances

A garbage disposal is an electronically powered device that chops up your food waste into tiny pieces so that it can flow through your drainage piping.  It can be an extremely useful kitchen appliance if used properly. Problems with a garbage disposal usually arise because of improper use. Here are some things that can contribute to the malfunction of the disposal or blockages that can happen due to improper use:

  • Grease – When grease is warm it flows like water however, as it cools it solidifies and sticks to both the inside of your garbage disposal and the inside of your waste piping. Grease builds up over time and will eventually cause a stoppage. Avoid pouring grease down the garbage disposal.
  • Egg shells – Repeated use of a garbage disposal to grind up egg shells can eventually lead to build up inside the disposal and in the drain line servicing the sink.
  • Meat bones – The bottom line is the motors inside residential disposals are not powerful enough to continually grind up meat bones. Not to mention they tend to be heavy so any pieces that aren’t ground up can stay in the drain line and cause a stoppage. Don’t do it; resist the urge. 
  • Starchy Foods – For example: potatoes, rice or pasta. These items tend to thicken when put inside a disposal. Think of it as an industrial blender.
  • Fibrous type vegetable parts (i.e. uncooked asparagus, celery) – These items are made up of long strands of fiber and can become tangled up when placed in the disposal. This tangled fiber can act like a net, catching the waste as it goes down the drain pipes.
  • Paper towels or napkins – Paper towels and napkins that end up in a disposal act similar to starchy foods; they end up sticking to the inside of the disposal as they thicken over time.
  • Any metal type objects (i.e. forks, knifes, spoons)  – Do we even need to explain why this is a very bad idea?


Ways to Clean a Garbage Disposal

  • Ice – Fill up your disposal with ice and run cold water. Turn on the disposal while running the water until the grinding stops.
  • Lemon – Cut the lemon in a few pieces and run water. Turn on the disposal until the grinding stops.

The number one tip we can give is run water, run water, run water before, during and after use. Most users do not run nearly enough water to properly flush the unit.


Common Garbage Disposal Problems

If you hear you garbage disposal humming … the motor might be jammed.  Turn off the garbage disposal, check to see if there are any foreign objects in the disposal, and then turn the garbage disposal back on.  If it still humming, it might be a faulty motor, in which case you need to contact your “Expert Plumber” to resolve the issue.  Remember … NEVER EVER STICK YOUR HAND INTO THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL IF THE SWITCH IS ON!!!!

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on … it could be an electrical problem.  Check your electrical box and make sure the breaker has not popped.  If that is okay, look for the little red reset button usually found on the bottom of the garbage disposal and press it.  If it still won’t turn on … call one of our “Expert Plumbers” who will assist in diagnosing and repairing your problem.