Hear the grinding and growling sound? That’s a sign that your garbage disposal system is not working. It’s one of the most used and overused devices in a home and can often be the cause of your home plumbing issues.

To avoid home plumbing issues related to garbage disposal problems, keep in mind the following things:

Keep Extremely Hard Things Out of the Disposal
If you put hard items like bone down the disposal, the shredder will dull and become less efficient. Small, hard objects can also get stuck and jam the rotating parts. Each garbage disposal has its own capacity for hard objects. The more expensive models of the same brand tend to have higher hardness capacities. The instruction manual usually specifies a list of objects to avoid. You can also gain experience with your own garbage disposal. Strong vegetable fibers can jam some garbage disposals, as well.

Cut Large Items into Smaller Pieces.
If they are too large, like the skins of melons, cut them into smaller pieces and put them one at a time into the disposal instead of trying to shove a large amount in at once. If you find yourself with a lot of larger pieces to cut up, it may be best to place them in the compost or trash instead.

Run Cold Water While the Disposal is On
Keep the disposer and water running for 30 to 60 seconds AFTER the waste matter has cleared the drain. The waste still has a distance to go. Cold water keeps the motor, bearings and shredder assembly from overheating. It also lets the waste go down easier because the water is pushing it down. DO NOT use hot water, because it can melt fat and allow it to re-solidify as a blockage further down in the drain.

Clean it Regularly
With the disposal off, clean the inner side of the rubber in the centre of the sink leading to the disposal. It gets very dirty, and gives off an odor when not cleaned. Just wipe it with a paper towel. Throw some ice down once in a while. Ice will not sharpen the shredders (as is commonly believed), it does knock off any debris buildup on the sharp edges that keeps them from grinding food properly.

For Better Results
Make special ice cubes from pure lemon juice or vinegar, or alternate with biodegradable cleanser (label them in your freezer!) Cover and seal ice trays used in your freezer for cleanser, and do not reuse trays for food or drink after having been used for cleanser. While using the disposal, be sure to run cold water at the same time. Dispose orange peels, or any citrus rinds, to freshen the disposal and keep it smelling clean, but cut them into slices first as large pieces of citrus peel, e.g. half a lime, can jam a disposal. You can also use pieces of citrus fruit that may be too old to consume, as long as they’re not too spoiled to smell nice. You can freeze these pieces first, if you wish.

Garbage disposal problems are easy to avoid. To keep your home plumbing issues at bay, remember the above points which will help you maintain your system. The better care you take of your plumbing system, a garbage disposal fix won’t be needed! Stay sharp, stay frosty!

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