Garbage disposals are convenient devices found in most modern homes. Unfortunately, many people have no idea what you should and shouldn't use your garbage disposal for. Here are a few tips and tricks to ensure your garbage disposal continues to run smoothly.
1. Prevent clogs.
The most common problem people have with their garbage disposal is clogs. Clogs will not only block your pipes and prevent drainage, but they can also produce mold and mildew and general unpleasant odor. Luckily, there are two easy ways to prevent disposal clogs:
Drain with lots of water – when grinding your leftovers, your garbage disposal needs lots of water to make sure the food scraps are flushed down the drain. If you do not flush these scraps out, they can stick to the inside of the disposal and clogs will eventually form. A good rule of thumb is to let cold water run for 30 seconds after you've used the garbage disposal to ensure all food has been flushed away.
Avoid grinding tough objects – you should never try to grind nonedible items in your garbage disposal, but you should also try to avoid grinding tough to break down foods. Foods you should never throw down a garage disposal are: coffee grounds, egg shells, and potato and banana peels.
2. Repair clogs quickly.
Even if you're very vigilant about what you put down your garbage disposal, it may eventually clog. Though you can call a plumber to deal with the issue, that can become costly and you can complete the task yourself in only a few simple steps.
Step 1: Determine the problem. If you can hear the hum of the motor, but not the grinding of the blades when running the disposal, then you have a clog. If nothing happens, then the unit is no longer working and you may need to purchase a new one.
Step 2: Turn off power to the disposal. Before trying to unclog the disposal, turn off the circuit on the main circuit breaker panel. Flip the disposal switch to make sure the power is actually off.
Step 3: Find the center shaft. At the bottom of the garbage disposal there should be a hexagon-shaped hole. This hole is the center shaft that controls the blades. Using an Allen wrench, turn the blades back and forth.
Step 4: Reset the disposal. There should be a reset button at the base of the disposal. Press this and turn on the power to the disposal to check to see if the clog is clear. If not, you may redo steps 2- 4.
3. Frequently clean your disposal.
Cleaning your disposal is easy if you make sure to do it often. Though some companies do make specific cleaning solution for garbage disposals, one of the simplest ways to clean is to drop some dish soap down the drain and run the disposal with cold water for about a minute. To get rid of unpleasant odors, you may drop a few small pieces of citrus rinds down the disposal, but be sure to rinse thoroughly with cold water after grinding.