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Garbage Disposal Tips and Tricks

Let’s face it, a lot goes on in your kitchen. Keeping things running smoothly is not an easy job. But with some tips and tricks, you can streamline that process one thing at a time. For this instance, let’s start with your garbage disposal. The last thing you want is for your disposal to stop working in the midst of a busy day. Here are some ways to keep your disposal running smoothly.

Routine Maintenance

Like anything with moving parts, a little routine maintenance can go a long way. The best way to help maintain the grinder in your disposal is to run some ice cubes through the disposal. First get some cold water flowing, turn on your disposal, then dump some ice cubes into the drain. The ice acts as an abrasive, cleaning any stuck on debris and making the grinder more efficient.

Despite what most people think, there aren’t “blades” in your disposal. There is certainly not a spinning knife in your disposal!

In reality, your model has lugs or an impeller that grinds the objects against a metal grate. It almost acts like a cheese grater, so when the grinding combines with water, it virtually liquifies the food waste and sends it on down the drain.

Bye Bye Odor!

Running ice should help clean out any bad smelling waste. But if the odor persists, you can try this method to get rid of the smell. First pour some dish soap into the disposal and let it sit for a minute. Then turn on the water and the disposal to flush out the soap. Once flushed, you can turn off the disposal.

Finally you can repeat this process, but instead of soap, using lemon juice. Pour lemon juice into the drain and let it sit for a minute. The citrus helps to break down any more stuck on waste and leaves your disposal with a fresh scent.

Avoiding Clogs

If you are ever unsure whether something can go down the drain, just remember this: “When in doubt, throw it out”. Your garbage disposal may seem like it can handle anything, but in reality it can’t. And neither can the pipes that flow away from your disposal.

Remember to put egg shells, grease, animal bones and stringy and tough-peeled vegetables like asparagus, potatoes, and celery in the garbage, not in the disposal. These items can lead to jams or clogs.

It’s Jammed!

This is the most common problem with garbage disposals. In fact, they all have an automatic shut-off function, much like a circuit break, when a jam occurs that completely stalls the motor. This prevents the motor from burning out. They also are designed so that you can dislodge whatever is inhibiting operation. Underneath every unit is a hex-headed slot, and all units should come with a wrench to match. If you misplaced the wrench that came with your unit, don’t fret — an Allen wrench (also called an Allen key or a hex key) will work just as well.

First, unplug the unit and locate the slot in the center of the unit’s bottom. Next, fit the wrench into the slot and work it back and forth so that the blades move. Continue doing this until the unit is spinning without resistance.

When the unit spins freely, plug it back in and press the reset button. Then test the unit while running a lot of water.

If the unit won’t spin freely, it’s time to call a licensed plumber. It’s possible the unit might need to be replaced. If the disposal isn’t jammed, it is more than likely a burned-out motor.

If you discover the garbage disposal is leaking from a crack in its body or at its base, a replacement is in order. Calling a professional plumber is advised.

You’ve Got This

Just remember these easy tips and tricks and your disposal will continue to run smoothly. And as always, if you’re in a jam and would rather call a pro, we are here to help 24/7.


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