SIX WAYS TO KEEP YOUR GARBAGE DISPOSAL IN PEAK CONDITION

January 26

Your garbage disposal probably doesn’t seem that important to you. It sits out of sight within your sink, and you only turn it on when you put something solid down the drain or the water starts to back up. Otherwise, you probably don’t think about this small appliance. And when it breaks, it doesn’t stir up the same kind of anxiety that a broken water heater or sewer line does.

But even though your garbage disposal seems small, that fact doesn’t mean this appliance doesn’t matter. It plays an important role in your plumbing and sewer systems’ functionality. Read on to learn more about what role your garbage disposal plays and what you can do to keep it in working condition.

Your garbage disposal probably doesn’t seem that important to you. It sits out of sight within your sink, and you only turn it on when you put something solid down the drain or the water starts to back up. Otherwise, you probably don’t think about this small appliance. And when it breaks, it doesn’t stir up the same kind of anxiety that a broken water heater or sewer line does.

But even though your garbage disposal seems small, that fact doesn’t mean this appliance doesn’t matter. It plays an important role in your plumbing and sewer systems’ functionality. Read on to learn more about what role your garbage disposal plays and what you can do to keep it in working condition.

Reasons Why Your Garbage Disposal Matters

Your garbage disposal allows you to turn large items into small ones that fit down your pipes. If you didn’t have a garbage disposal, large food particles and other debris would eventually cause a clog—and that clog could form so far down in your plumbing that you couldn’t get it out. That clog could also damage your pipes and septic system. So you need your garbage disposal to prevent this problem.

However, even though your disposal makes an impressively loud noise and has sharp blades, it still has vulnerabilities. Especially large or hard debris could damage it. Find out how you can keep yours functional for decades in the next section.

Strategies that Help Your Garbage Disposal Last

Prevent disposal damage and failure by taking the following steps.

1. Don’t Fill Your Disposal with Tough Materials

Hard objects cause disposal problems for a few reasons. First, these objects dull the blades and eventually make your disposal ineffective. Smaller items can jam the disposal’s moving parts and break blades as well. So to ensure your garbage disposal has a long lifespan, don’t use it to grind the following objects:

  • Bones
  • Dried beans or unpopped popcorn kernels
  • Hard shells on shellfish or crustaceans
  • Ice

Essentially, if you cannot crush an object with your hands, your disposal can’t handle it either.

2. Put Starchy or Fibrous Materials in the Garbage Can

When starches break down, they turn into sticky pastes that cause clogs in your disposal. Additionally, fibrous materials turn all stringy and tangle the appliance’s moving parts. So do not put the following foods in your disposal if you want it to last:

  • Corn husks and cobs
  • Banana peels
  • Celery
  • Onion rings
  • Potato peels
  • Coffee grounds and filters

Don’t put egg shells in your disposal either, since they break down and turn sandy. That “sand” can cause clogs as easily as starch can.

3. Dispose of Grease Properly

You probably already know what grease does to plumbing. Grease slides down the pipes and solidifies in a thick layer. Additional grease layers eventually form a clog. And the same thing happens in your disposal. So, if you have to dispose of grease, wait for it to congeal, then put it in a plastic bag and throw it away with the rest of your trash.

4. Never Put Non-Food Items in the Disposal

Again, your disposal can only handle soft items that lack starch or fibers. It cannot handle sponges, plant matter, human hair, rubber bands, or anything else that you would throw away as trash.

5. Run Water While You Run the Disposal

The water keeps your appliance from overheating. Water also pushes food particles out of the garbage disposal and down the pipe. Keep the water running for 60 seconds after the disposal grinds all the debris. When you run your disposal, you ensure that no particles stay behind, so your appliance stays clean.

6. Call an Expert for an Inspection

Like every appliance in your home, your garbage disposal needs periodic professional care to stay functional. Have a plumber evaluate your disposal once a year. And as long as you stick to a regular schedule and follow the tips above, your disposal should stay in peak condition for years to come.

If you have any further questions about your plumbing and sewer systems, check out the rest of our blog.


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