Whether used as a means of clearing food residue from dinner dishes or as an eco-friendlier method of disposing waste in the kitchen, a garbage disposal can be a great investment for the environment and your home.
About half of all households in the United States have one, but you may not be familiar with how to operate the garbage disposal in an effective way that does not place much stress on the disposal's mechanics, your sink, and your underlying plumbing. This guide and your plumber's assistance will help you avoid the common mistakes you may be making with your disposal.
1. Improper Food Disposal
You should never put certain things down your garbage disposal – even if you consider them garbage. Attempting to put the wrong things into the disposal unit can lead to serious problems, including a broken motor, warped blade, or clogged drain or pipe.
Small amounts of coffee grounds, egg shells, small scraps of fruits or vegetables, and even small pieces of cooked meat can all be disposed of down your garbage disposal. Because of the serious risk of damaging your disposal unit and plumbing, never assume your disposal unit can handle the following items:
- Large bones
- Shrimp shells
- Fruit pits
- Pasta or rice
- Onion skins
- Corn husks
- Broken glass
Of course, many other items should also never be placed in the sink drain whether it has a disposal or not. For example, you should never dispose of crayons, paper scraps, and toys through your sink drain.
2. Improper Use
If you are like most people, you think that all you have to do is flip a switch to dispose of items after putting them into the sink drain. Unfortunately, this method is the wrong way to use your garbage disposal, and it can damage your entire disposal unit.
Instead, run cold water down the sink drain before adding the items you want to dispose. Cold water hardens food residue and scraps, making them easier to grind up and move through the drain and pipes.
Running hot water is a common mistake many users make. Hot water can melt the food scraps, causing them to stick to the sides of the disposal and pipes.
Flip the disposal's switch to power on the motor after the cold water has been running for a few seconds. Continue running the cold water along with the disposal for a few seconds after the food scraps have been grinded down.
3. Improper Maintenance
As with any other component or system in the household, cleaning and maintenance is essential if you want it to run effectively.
Regular use is one of the most important parts of maintaining your disposal. The constant disposal of proper food scraps will keep the motor running efficiently.
Properly disposing of food scraps also keeps the blades of the unit sharp and free of rust and corrosion. Sharp blades will ensure cuts are sharp, so food will be grinded down in smaller pieces, making them easier to flow out of the plumbing system without any risk of clogs.
A great way to clean your drain and disposal unit is by grinding citrus fruit peels. Run cold water and add a few orange, lemon, or lime peels to the drain. Flip on the disposal unit and allow the peels to be grinded down. The combination of the grinding and citrus peels will deodorize and clean your drain and disposal unit.
The garbage disposal is an excellent investment for your home and the environment. For more information on using and maintaining your garbage disposal, contact us at Roto-Rooter.