June 12, 2024
Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips for a Smoother Kitchen Experience

If your kitchen has a garbage disposal, you can mulch and cut up soft food waste instead of filling up trash bags. The waste is liquefied and sent down the drainpipe, which ensures easy disposal. However, the components that make up a disposal can become clogged or damaged if they aren’t properly maintained. Follow these maintenance tips to avoid clogs and other issues.

How Garbage Disposals Work

Once a garbage disposal is installed in your home, you should see a rubber splash guard along the bottom of your sink. The numerous components that are housed below the splash guard include the impellers, shredding ring, and flywheel. These items are designed to grind up any food waste you place in your sink. This waste then enters a lower chamber where the particles mix with water before being sent down the drainpipe. Your disposal should also have a reset button you can press.

Garbage disposals are available in numerous power variations, the most common of which is 1/3 horsepower. While smaller units can effectively grind some foods, the units with higher horsepower ratings consist of as many as three grinding wheels for more efficient cutting.

Common Garbage Disposal Problems

There are several types of garbage disposal problems you can avoid by regularly maintaining your system. If your garbage disposal isn’t working, it’s possible that the “reset” button was accidentally pushed or that the breaker was tripped. There’s also a chance that the system has burnt out altogether.

You may also encounter clogs and jams in your garbage disposal. If it’s making a low humming noise when you turn it on, the blades inside are likely jammed. The types of substances that can jam a garbage disposal include everything from eggshells to non-food items.

Even when the unit is working correctly, it may not drain as fast as it should. In this scenario, it’s possible that the blades have become dull or that a small clog has occurred at a lower point in the pipe. Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure small clogs don’t happen.

If you notice any metallic sounds as your disposal unit is running, something might be stuck. There’s also a chance that the parts are moving incorrectly. Over time, components can become worn down. When this happens, these components need to be replaced to avoid damaging the rest of your system. Garbage disposals can be affected by leaks as well. Leaks often occur because the O-ring has become damaged or other parts have loosened. When a leak occurs, don’t tend to the issue yourself. Call a plumber to avoid additional damage.

Maintenance Tips

For a smooth kitchen experience, maintain your garbage disposal. The purpose of a disposal is to add convenience to your daily life, which isn’t possible if the system stops working.

Run the System Regularly

If you don’t run your garbage disposal regularly, residue from your dishwasher soap or other substances may accumulate in the drain. If you notice strange odors coming from your garbage disposal, it’s possible that waste has built up inside of it. By using the disposal often, the residue shouldn’t accumulate.

Schedule Maintenance Often

While there are several things you can do to keep your garbage disposal in good condition, it’s important to schedule maintenance regularly. During routine maintenance, the system’s blades will be sharpened. The unit will also be cleaned and descaled. If you attempt to clean the disposal yourself, avoid harsh chemicals that could damage the components within the unit. Consider scheduling maintenance once per year.

Use the Disposal Properly

While you can put many different food items down your garbage disposal, some things can damage the blades and clog the system. For example, you should avoid placing fibrous foods in your garbage disposal. Celery, potato peels, corn husks, and onions can clog the drain. Instead, compost these items or put them in the trash.

While fish bones can be put in your disposal without causing any damage, all other bones should be deposited into your trash. Avoid pouring fats or cooking oil down the disposal. Grease can coat the drain and solidify, which makes clogging issues more likely. You should also avoid placing coffee grounds in your disposal. If you have any hard seeds, cut them into smaller pieces before disposing of them.

Call a Professional for Stubborn Clogs and Jams

You should never place your hands in a garbage disposal. Even if you believe the disposal is turned off, this can be highly dangerous. If something gets stuck in your disposal, the best option is to call a reputable plumber who has experience with these systems. Before they arrive, you can try to push the reset button, which may be enough to get rid of the clog.

Don’t Place Too Much Food in Disposal

While garbage disposals are powerful systems, they can be over-stressed. If you place a large amount of food in the disposal, the drain might become clogged. The motor and blades will also be put under a considerable amount of stress, which could result in an early malfunction. If you need to put a lot of stuff down the disposal, do so slowly.

Flush the Garbage Disposal

Maintenance also involves flushing your disposal. To begin this process, place a stopper over the drain. The sink should be filled with cold water. You can then remove the stopper to allow all the water to drain. If any particles are stuck to the walls of the drain, they might be loosened by flushing your disposal.

Use Cold Water

A simple way to maintain your garbage disposal is to run cold water through it whenever it’s operational. Turn the water on just before you start the disposal. The water should continue running for several seconds after you’ve turned the unit off.

By making sure water flows through your disposal as it’s being used, the food you place in there should pass through the pipes without issue. Don’t use hot water. When the temperature is high, water can cause the grease you pour down the drain to separate and coat the surrounding pipes.

Turn Off Disposal During Maintenance

When you decide to clean your garbage disposal or maintain it, make sure you turn it off. It’s also highly recommended that you move smaller items that may fall into the unit away from your sink, including everything from spoons and forks to earrings. There should be a switch below the garbage disposal that you can turn off. If you can’t find it, cut power to the unit from your breaker box.

If you require maintenance for your garbage disposal, our team at Woodward Heating Air Plumbing can perform this service and extend the unit’s lifespan. Our plumbers have experience handling all types of garbage disposal issues, which include everything from clogs to leaks. By regularly maintaining your garbage disposal, you may not encounter as many problems. Some of the other residential services we provide to Salem residents include water heater repair, drain cleaning, and HVAC installation. Contact Woodward Heating Air Plumbing today to schedule plumbing services.

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