A garbage disposal isn’t designed to last forever—and that’s true for all mechanical appliances. At a certain point, the disposal will be too worn down to do its job or its motor will burn out, making it more cost-effective to have a new disposal put in.
But too many homeowners make some basic mistakes with their garbage disposals that shorten the appliances’ lifespans. We don’t want you to be stuck with a broken disposal when you need it the most (such as during one of the upcoming holidays—Thanksgiving is not a good time to have a busted garbage disposal!). We have a few basic tips about how to treat your garbage disposal so it will run into the minimum amount of repairs and have a long service life.
Don’t put these things down the disposal
The key to properly caring for a garbage disposal is knowing what it cannot grind down. Too often people toss objects into the disposal that don’t belong there, and it can lead rapidly to repair issues. Here are things you shouldn’t put down the disposal:
- Actual garbage: Wow, we wish a garbage disposal were named anything else! It would eliminate at least 50% of the problems from people throwing trash into the disposal. This includes paper, plastic, and anything else that isn’t food waste. Put garbage in the garbage can, not the kitchen sink.
- FOG: This stands for “fats, oils, and grease,” all of which are liquids when hot. But this is deceiving, because they turn into waxy solids when they cool down. Pouring them into the garbage disposal will soon jam up the mechanical parts, and they can also cause clogs in the drainpipes. Pour FOG into a separate container, like a coffee can, and put it in the trash.
- Unchewable food waste: The grind ring of a disposal can’t grind every type of food waste. If your teeth can’t chew it, then it shouldn’t go into the disposal. Typical culprits include meat bones, unpopped popcorn kernels, and fruit pits.
- Fibrous foods: String foods like asparagus, celery, and onion peels can tangle up the mechanisms of a disposal.
- Pasta and rice: These seem harmless, but they swell because of water absorption.
Keep the water running after the disposal stops
You should never run the disposal unless there is water running down it. But you should continue to run the water for a few seconds after the disposal stops running. This helps to wash down the food waste into the drainpipes and keeps the disposal clean.
Never use chemical drain cleaners
When your disposal jams up and you can’t get it work again with the reset button, please call a plumber to repair it. Don’t attempt to fix the clogged up system by pouring chemical drain cleaners down into the hopper. These acidic chemicals can harm the disposal, and they aren’t good for the drainpipes either.
For more help with your kitchen plumbing in Moreno Valley, CA, rely on our professional!
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