How to Keep Your Garbage Disposal Working Properly
Are you a new homeowner who is concerned with keeping your new home running smoothly? Buying a new home is exciting, but it can also be stressful. Suddenly, you are responsible for all sorts of things you never were before. A prime example of this is when your garbage disposal stops working. Who takes care of it? You do!
Below we provide a few of our top garbage disposal maintenance tips to help you keep your garbage disposal in good shape and more effectively troubleshoot if there is an issue.
Tip #1: Know How Your Disposal Is Connected
Your garbage disposal is connected to both power and water. The first step in understanding how your garbage disposal works is to locate its power connection. Typically, you will find the power cord behind the unit and connected underneath the sink. If you are having issues with your garbage disposal or need to unclog it, you should always disconnect it from its power source as a safety precaution. You should also turn off the circuit breaker in your kitchen before working on, removing, or replacing your garbage disposal.
The next step in understanding how your garbage disposal works is to identify how it is connected to your plumbing system. Garbage disposals will be connected to both your sink and your drainpipe. These connections allow waste and water from the disposal to exit your home. If you have a dishwasher, it will be connected to your disposal as well.
If you see any signs of leaking, loose connections, frayed or damaged wiring, or issues with the outlet your disposal is plugged into, we recommend calling an experienced plumber immediately for repairs. Do not use your disposal if you suspect a problem, especially if it is still connected to power. This can be a major safety hazard.
Tip #2: Remember, Not Everything Can Go Through Your Disposal
Before sending food scraps down the garbage disposal, it is important to ensure they are in small pieces. Large chunks of food can easily clog your garbage disposal and lead to potential damage. Additionally, never feed fibrous foods such as onion skins or celery into a garbage disposal, as these can damage your disposal and/or create clogs.
Other items you should never put down your disposal:
- Coffee grounds
- Animal bones
- Avocado or fruit pits
- Thick or fibrous vegetable peels
- Melon and other fruit rinds or skin
- Grains or pasta
- Non-food items
You may be surprised to see coffee grounds on this list. Many people recommend putting coffee grounds down garbage disposals as a method to remove foul odors. However, this isn't a good idea. Coffee grounds are more likely to cause clogging and other drain and sewer pipe issues. This is especially true if your sewer line is older and/or suffers from buildup or root intrusion.
Always check your garbage disposal for foreign objects, such as silverware, before running it. If you turn on your disposal and hear that something has fallen in (such as loud metal scraping sounds), turn it off immediately, disconnect it from power, and remove the foreign object.
Tip #3: Keep Your Disposal Clean
Before attempting to clean your garbage disposal, be sure to unplug it from the wall and remove any objects that may have fallen inside. Next, use a wet cloth with a mild dish detergent to remove any food particles stuck on the garbage disposal’s blades. Finally, pour one cup of baking soda down the drain and follow that with one cup of white vinegar. Allow this mixture to sit for five minutes before running hot water for about 30 seconds to rinse away any remaining debris.
Another quick way to help clear debris from your garbage disposal is to grind a few ice cubes in the disposal. This can help dislodge anything stuck to the disposal but will not harm the blades.
Want more tips on how to care for your garbage disposal? Review the following blogs:
- Troubleshooting a Garbage Disposal Problem
- How Long Does a Garbage Disposal Last?
- Signs You Should Replace Your Garbage Disposal
Do you need help with your garbage disposal? Contact Moe Plumbing for guidance. Our experienced plumbers are a wealth of information and are ready to use their plumbing expertise to help you. Send us a message online to set up an appointment today.