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Garbage disposals may be the most feared and misunderstood appliance in the home today. In fact, many people have no idea how they actually work, except that if their sink stops draining, the flip a switch, and after some loud noises, the sink drains again.
The truth is that a garbage disposal is not that complicated. Knowing this can help you to take better care of yours, so that replacements come fewer and further apart. In essence, a garbage disposal does little more than take fairly large pieces of food and chop them up into smaller pieces, so that they can more easily travel through the pipes.
Some Problems with Garbage Disposers
The bulk of service calls that we receive, that involve garbage disposers, really boil down to a few simple things…
The disposer jamming – This happens fairly frequently, and can be due to any number of things. It is usually cause by a fairly solid object, that the disposer cannot easily chop, getting wedged inside somewhere. The first thing to remember is that you do NOT want to stick your hands in there.
Most disposers have a little hole in the bottom that the proper sized allen wrench (usually included) will turn. Using this can help you to rotate the motor, back and forth, manually, to help dislodge the debris. If you do not have the proper sized allen wrench, or your disposer does not have the hole, you can (carefully) use a brook handle to attempt to dislodge the blades. Just insert it into the disposer opening, lodge it again a blade, and give it a nudge.
Rust – A lot of water goes through the disposer, and they are built to stay rust free. The problem is that if you leave food in the disposer for a while, the food holds water, and can create rust. To keep this from happening, you should also run the disposer for a few seconds (with plenty of water), after finishing your dishes, to make sure it is clear.
If it is already rusted, it should be replaced.
Backups – Improper use of a garbage disposer can easily cause backups in the pipes directly under your sink. To prevent this, not only should you keep the food you put into it to a minimum, but you should not wait until the water stops draining to use the disposer.
Many people use their disposer for all of their food waste. That is the quickest way to back up your kitchen sink. There are lists all over the web about what you should not put down the garbage disposer, but honestly, the best advice is to only use it for the food waste that you cannot easily dispose of through other means.
Even using it minimally, you should make sure that you run the disposer, before putting food into it, and put the food in slowly. Run lots of cold water while using the disposer, and lots of hot water after. Remember that there are a lot of waste pipes under your sink, and many of them can be quite old. Taking them all apart and putting them pack together takes a lot more time (and potentially money) than just using your disposer properly.
If you find yourself at a point where you need some work done on your garbage disposal, or need to replace your old one, give Gogo Rooter a call. We will come to your home, give you a free estimate, and have your disposer problems solved in no time flat.
Call Gogo Rooter Plumbing today.