Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Proper Maintenance Of Your Garbage Disposal

By properly maintaining your garbage disposal will extend its life and prevent plumbing and drain disasters.

Lets face it - most of us have a garbage disposal in our homes and we do not treat them kindly. As a matter of fact, it is my opinion that we take this household appliance for granted. A poorly maintained or operated disposal can and will break down, block and clog the drains and cause an endless list-and dare I say- of expensive plumbing and drain disasters.

Clogged drains are an inconvenience and garbage disposal repair can be very expensive. Don't fret, most issues are completely unnecessary. Regular care and maintenance is very easy. If you treat your garbage disposal well it will treat you well, in return.

Listed below are some best practices to follow along with the major don'ts.Garbage Disposal Best Practices:
  • Do keep your garbage disposal clean. Pour a little dish soap inside and let it run for a minute or so with some cold water after washing dishes.
  • Do run your unit regularly. Frequently running the disposal helps with the prevention of rust and corrosion and assures that all parts stay moving. It can also prevent any clogs from building up.
  • Do grind food waste with a strong flow of cold water. Cold water you ask? It will cause any grease or oils that may get into the unit to solidify, so that they can be chopped up before reaching the trap.
  • Do grind certain hard materials such as fish bones, eggshells, small fruit pits, etc. This causes a scouring action inside the grind chamber that helps clean the walls of the disposal.
  • Do grind citrus fruit peelings such as lemons or oranges to freshen up drain smells.
  • Do cut large items into smaller pieces. Put them into the grinder one at a time instead of trying to shove a large amount in at once.
Garbage Disposal Don'ts:
  • Don't put anything in the unit that is not biodegradable food. Non food items will damage both blades and the motor. Your garbage disposal is not a trash can.
  • Don't grind glass, plastic, metal or even paper.
  • Don't grind anything combustible.
  • Don't grind cigarette butts.
  • Don't pour grease, oil or fat into your garbage disposal or drain. Grease will slowly accumulate and impede your garbage disposal's grinding ability as well as clog drains.
  • Don't use hot water when grinding food waste. Hot water will cause grease to liquefy and accumulate, causing drains to clog.
  • Don't grind extremely fibrous material like corn husks, celery stalks, onion skins, and artichokes. Fibers from these can tangle and jam the motor and block drains.
  • Don't turn off the motor or water until grinding is completed. When grinding is complete, turn off the garbage disposal first. Let water continue to run for at least 15 seconds, flushing out any remaining particles.
  • Don't put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal. The starches in the potatoes will turn into a thick paste and may cause blades to stick.
  • Don't put large amounts of food down the disposal. Feed food into the unit a little at a time with the cold water running.
  • Don't put expandable foods into your garbage disposal. Foods like pasta and rice expand when you add water in a pot; they do the same thing once inside your pipes or garbage disposal and are the cause of many jams and clogs.
  • Don't grind large animal bones (beef, pork etc.).
  • Although coffee grounds do not harm the disposal they can build up in the drains and pipes over time.
  • Don't use harsh chemicals like bleach or drain cleaners. They can damage blades and pipes. Borax is a natural sink cleaner and sanitizer that effectively works on odor-causing mold and mildew that accumulates.
Keeping Your Disposal Running Problem-Free
  • Ice is an effective and inexpensive method for cleaning your garbage disposal, sharpening the blades and breaking up any grease build-up. Toss a few ice cubes into the garbage disposal and run it. As the garbage disposal chops into the ice cubes, the ice chips will effectively scour all the hard to reach areas of the unit, and melt down the drain. Try this once or twice a month to keep your unit in fine working order.
To Remove Those Nasty Smells
Here are some natural methods that are good for the environment and very inexpensive.
  • Periodically, take a lemon or orange and toss it into the disposal. The oils and juice from the fruits and peels naturally clean the walls inside the disposal and create a fresh, long-lasting scent.
  • Freeze vinegar in ice cube trays and toss those down the disposal. This will keep your blades sharp while safely killing odor-causing bacteria.
  • For stubborn odors pour baking soda into the drain and let it set for several hours before running the water and garbage disposal.
  • For really stubborn odors, use a safe cleaning product like Borax. Just pour 3-4 tablespoons of Borax down the drain and let it sit for an hour. Then turn on the hot water and flush the borax away.
Tips for Removing Object
  • NEVER, NEVER, NEVER put your unprotected hand into the garbage disposal! If you must use your hand to remove objects, unplug the unit or turn off the appropriate circuit breaker. Always wear safety gloves to protect your hand from the sharp blades.
  • If you must try to remove any foreign object by yourself first get a flashlight to find the exact location of the object. Use a pair of extra-long needle nose pliers or an automotive finger

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