Garbage Disposal Upkeep

The Care and Feeding of Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are designed to last only about 10 years. But here’s information on how you can forestall its inevitable demise!

There are a number of events that signal the end of a garbage disposal. Here’s one of the more common: it rusts out on the bottom, and water starts spewing underneath your sink and onto the kitchen floor every time you turn it on.

Can rust be avoided in the first place? Absolutely, and simply by running the garbage disposal every time you put food in it. Otherwise, the acid and oils from standing food will eventually eat through the seals and the metal housing of the disposal. Also, when you run the garbage disposal, always use cold water. Hot water dissolves fats and grease, but then it deposits them in your drainpipes where it accumulates before causing a clog.

Here are some additional tips for maintaining your disposal:

  • Run cold water for 30 seconds or more after turning the garbage disposal off to thoroughly wash ground-up food down the drain.
  • Periodically fill the sinks to the top and pull the stopper to flush the lines as well as possible.
  • You can grind almost any food waste, but don’t try to grind really fibrous foods like onion skins, celery stalks or asparagus. On the other hand, ice and eggshells can actually help clean the garbage disposal.
  • If the disposal won’t run, check the circuit breaker or fuse and replace or reset as necessary. Also check to see if the overload switch has tripped. Find the reset button at the bottom of the garbage disposal unit and push it.
  • If the motor hums but the disposal doesn’t run, you may have a jammed impeller, and that’s a repairable problem.
  • If the garbage disposal runs intermittently, the switch or stopper actuator may be defective…if so, you’ll need to replace it.
    +A leaky garbage disposal isn’t necessarily a sign of rust. The cause might be as simple as a loose connection, which can readily be tightened.

How about that all-too-familiar racket a garbage disposal can sometimes make? When you hear it, chances are you’re trying to grind up something your disposal wishes you wouldn’t. The result could be a damaged blade, impeller or motor. But don’t be too quick to repair, since it’s highly likely that it would cost less to replace.

Bottom line, once a garbage disposal stops doing a good job of grinding, or starts to leak, that’s usually the ball game. Give it a little loving care, however, and you might get a few extra innings.

In the meantime, the professionals at Pat Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning would like you to know that they are always here for you, 24/7. Just one more way we’re helping to make life a little easier.

Thanks for sharing some time with us.
-Pat
Pat Plumbing, Heating and Air Conditioning, Topeka, KS

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