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Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc. Blog

What Should You Avoid Putting Down Your Garbage Disposal?

hands-washing-head-of-lettuce-over-drain-in-kitchen-sinkIf you’ve been using a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, you likely can’t picture cooking and cleaning up without it, right? Whether it’s an unfinished meal, cooking scraps, or spoiling leftovers, it’s so convenient to just swoosh it down the drain instead of throwing it in the trash and risking a smelly kitchen until you or another member of your household get around to dumping the bag.

However, some homeowners are often over-dependent on these devices and that attitude can lead to unpleasant surprises, such as an urgent need for garbage disposal repair in Waterloo, IA.

Homeowners may sometimes find themselves getting frustrated by a garbage disposal that keeps getting jammed up or the fact that they’ve had to call a plumber more than once to get something out of the mechanisms. Read on as we uncover some of the problems garbage disposals and kitchen sink drains face due to what people put down them.

Avoid Putting Anything Down That Isn’t Food!

As professional plumbers, we understand that not everyone realizes that disposal systems shouldn’t be used for non-food items. After all, they’re called garbage disposals, right? This indicates a misunderstanding of how garbage disposal systems actually work.

Perhaps you envision your garbage disposal being something like a blender, with sharp blades that rotate around to chop up anything you need to dispose of before sending it down the drain. This isn’t quite right though.

Garbage disposals use motors that power impellers. At the end of an impeller, the “blades” aren’t actually sharp like that of a blender or food processor. In combination with a grind ring, the impeller blades use centrifugal force to break down smaller food items.

Things like plastic, food wrappers, and paper shouldn’t be put down the garbage disposal and can actually jam it up. Even if the garbage disposal does break this debris down, it can get lodged in the pipes and lead to drain clogs.

Also, Avoid Hard Food Items or Food with Tough Textures

When we say hard foods, we’re referring to scraps like meat bones and fruit pits. Since your garbage disposal system grinds down food before sending it down the drain, it won’t be very effective on those types of materials. Think of it like this—if you’re not able to chew it with your teeth, it doesn’t belong in your garbage disposal.

Foods with a tough texture are rough on garbage disposals as well. Here, we’re talking about stringy, fibrous foods, like asparagus or celery. These can potentially get wrapped up around the motor and cause it to jam up. Anything papery will act like this in the disposal system too—things like onion skins and corn husks, or even too many eggshells or potato skins.

Protecting Your Kitchen Sink Drain

There are some food items that won’t hurt your garbage disposal system at all, but still shouldn’t be thrown down your kitchen sink drain. These include:

  • Pasta or Rice: These are expandable foods and when too much is put down the drain, it can create a backup.
  • FOG: FOG stands for fats, oils, and grease. As FOG cools down, it hardens on the inside of your pipes. This eventually can build up and create quite the stubborn clog and backup in your kitchen sink.
  • Coffee Grounds: This is another item that will make it through the disposal just fine, but can clump together and easily create a clog.

At Dalton Plumbing, Heating, Cooling, Electric and Fireplaces, Inc., your comfort is our promise! To set up an appointment, give us a call at the number above, email or schedule an appointment online.

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