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What You Should Know About Your Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is a great invention and makes washing your dishes much easier because you can just let some of the food particles slide right down the drain. To properly use and maintain your garbage disposal, however, you need to follow a few rules.

If you are unfamiliar with garbage disposals and how they actually work, keep reading to find out more so you can keep your system working great.

How Does a Disposal Work?

When you put food scraps into the disposal and turn on the system, blades in the grinding chamber start cutting up the food into tiny particles. This allows the food to easily flow through the drain with the running water.

The blades are powered with an electric motor, and there are two types of disposals from which you can choose. Continuous-feed disposals allow you to turn on the system and keep adding food as the water is running. A batch-feed system requires you to fill the disposal and then turn it on. You can’t feed more food scraps while it’s running.

How Do You Properly Use the Disposal?

While a disposal can chop up pretty big pieces of food, you should cut large pieces into smaller pieces first. This puts less strain on the system, and it prevents larger pieces from sneaking into the drain to clog it. If you have a continuous-feed type system, turn the switch to activate it, and then turn on the water to cold. Using hot water can cause food to get sticky and clog the drain.

While the water and system is running, start slowly putting food into the disposal. However, for batch-feed systems, you’ll load the disposal with the desired food pieces you want to dispose of first. When the disposal is full, you can activate it with a stopper.

What Can’t You Put in the Disposal?

You can put many different types of food scraps in the disposal, but never put non-food items in, including non-edible pieces of food like coffee grounds, peach pits, or bones. If you eat foods that need to be peeled, like potatoes, carrots and cucumbers, don’t put the peels in the disposal because it’s difficult to for the blades to cut them. In some cases, the peels can wrap around the blades.

Speaking of potatoes and carrots, you should not put hard food items like them down the disposal either. They may not break up properly and they can cause your blades to become dull.

Finally, never put grease down your disposal. The grease can clog the disposal and the drains.

How Do You Maintain the System?

A lot of garbage disposal maintenance is just making sure you use it correctly, such as only using cold water. However, you will need to occasionally clean the system. Even with the water running, some pieces of food will get trapped in the disposal. Eventually, this can lead to a sticky, slimy mess inside the system.

Avoid putting your hands inside the disposal to clean it. Simply use gentle cleaners or a DIY cleaning solution of baking soda and vinegar. Grinding ice cubes is another great way to knock some food off the blades. If cleaning the system didn’t seem to work, and you are still having complications, it’s better to contact a professional, so you don’t cut a finger or hand.

With good care, your disposal can work for many years, but using the system wrong can lead to clogged drains. If you would like to know more about how to care for your disposal, or if you need a plumbing repair or replacement, contact us at Quality Plumbing today.

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“Thank you for the new toilet, it's a huge improvement. The plunger is going back in the closet!” - O.T.
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