Like any appliance, garbage disposals can benefit greatly from regular maintenance. Here are four tips to help you prevent clogs in your kitchen drains and keep your garbage disposal in working order.
Know What Not to Put in the Garbage Disposal
Many common problems arise from homeowners trying to use garbage disposals for materials they were not designed for. Hard food scraps like bones, popcorn kernels, and fruit pits can dull the blades and prevent the disposal from grinding food properly. You should also avoid fibrous materials like fruit skins and celery that can get wrapped around the blades of the disposal.
There are certain food items that you may not need to avoid entirely as long as you "pre-process" them first. Cutting meat scraps and other tough foods into small chunks and feeding them into the disposal slowly will work more effectively and minimize the risk of clogs.
Run Cold Water During Use
Running water every time you use your garbage disposal is a given, but many homeowners aren't aware that it is better to run cold water. This tip is essential when you are disposing of greasy foods, as cold water will cause grease to solidify while it is inside of the disposal.
Solid grease can easily be ground up by your garbage disposal as long as there's not too much of it. If you run warm or hot water while disposing of greasy foods, the grease will be able to slip past the blades of the disposal in liquid form. It will solidify at some point further down the drain.
Clean the Garbage Disposal Regularly
As long as you are running water when you use your garbage disposal, it should do a decent job of cleaning itself. However, occasional cleaning will always be necessary, especially if you notice that your kitchen drain is starting to smell. Cleaning your garbage disposal regularly is a great way to get rid of sink stink and maximize the life of the disposal.
To clean your garbage disposal, first turn off the fuse that powers the disposal and insert pliers or tongs into the drain to remove any obstructions you can reach. To avoid injury, do not put your hands into the disposal, even with the power turned off.
Once you have cleared obstructions from the garbage disposal, there are a few different techniques you can try to deodorize it. One popular method is to deodorize the disposal using ice and rock salt. Fill the disposal with one to two cups of ice and a cup of rock salt, turn on the cold water, and allow the garbage disposal to run for a few seconds.
Learn How to Unclog the Disposal and Drain
No matter how careful you are with what you put in your garbage disposal, sometimes a clog is unavoidable. One of the most obvious signs of a garbage disposal clog is if you turn it on and hear only a low humming sound. This indicates that the motor is getting power but a clog is prevent the blades from turning properly.
Most garbage disposals have a bolt on the bottom that you can turn with an Allen wrench to rotate the blades and attempt to remove the clog. Unplug the garbage disposal, rotate the bolt to try to free the blades, and then plug the unit back in and press the reset button. If this does not solve the problem, the clog may be further down in the drain pipe and you may have to remove the P-trap to unclog it.
If you use your garbage disposal with care, clean it regularly, and remove clogs when necessary, you can keep it running smoothly for years to come.
Keeping your home's plumbing system in good working order is a family job. Have you taught your kids what should never be flushed down the toilets or poured down the drains? Do your kids know what to watch for to know that there is a plumbing problem that needs to be addressed? If your kids know what to look for, they will be less likely to contribute to making a minor plumbing problem more serious. This blog will show you things that you should teach your kids so that everyone can work together to protect the entire plumbing system in your home.