Tips to keep your garbage disposal functioning

Tips to keep your garbage disposal functioning

Submitted by David Heffner of Heffner Plumbing

The holidays tend to be a time when plumbers get the most calls about garbage disposal problems. Before sending out an S.O.S. (Save Our Sink), here are some things to remember:

  • Begin running cold water, not hot, before turning on the disposal.
  • Moderation, moderation, moderation. Feed small amounts of food into the disposal at a time.
  • Beware of putting large amounts of pasta or potato peelings in the disposal, and don't grind celery or other fibrous vegetables that may clog the drain line.
  • Continue to run the water several seconds after the disposal is done grinding to flush the food down the drain.

The difference between and clog and a jam

A clog occurs when food has gotten into the drain line coming off of the disposal or into the p-trap itself, preventing any more water from draining out of the sink. If this should occur, first remove as much water as possible from the sink. Do not use a liquid drain cleaner to remove the clog. Drain cleaners contain acid. Most plumbers won’t touch it until after the acid has dissipated, approximately 24 hours later. If you’re not comfortable with removing the drain line from the disposal to remove the clog, then contact your professional licensed plumber.

A disposal is jammed when an object has wedged itself inside of the grinding chamber to the point where the cutting blades can't move. If this happens, first try resetting the garbage disposal by pushing the reset button on the bottom of some models. Next use the wrench provided with your disposal (or a quarter-inch Allen wrench) to move the blades until they can freely turn 360 degrees. Do not put your hand inside a garbage disposal. If there is an object that needs to be removed, try using a Shop-Vac or long needle nose pliers.

David Heffner is a licensed plumbing contractor in the state of Indiana and is bonded and insured. Heffner Plumbing is a highly rated company with Angie’s List and has received the Super Service Award every year since 2004. Heffner received the 2009 Contractor of the Year Award by the Greater Indianapolis Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors (GIPHCC).

As of Dec. 23, 2011, this service provider was highly rated on Angie’s List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie’s List.

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