Garbage disposals are nothing new to the modern American way of life, but not all homes have the best garbage disposal setup they could afford. With the right setup, chores become easier and clogs are less likely to be a problem. If by some chance you don't have a garbage disposal, take a look at a few additional benefits of the great system, along with a few ways to troubleshoot the disposal unit when trouble strikes.
Garbage Disposals Help More Than You Think
Getting rid of old food is the main benefit of garbage disposal units, but you need to think deeper to the general plumbing of your home. All of that food needs to be pushed at a high pressure in order to get through the pipes without getting clogged, and it's exactly that benefit that works in many other wonderful ways.
When you dispose of waste with a garbage disposal, water is mixed with the waste as the disposal pulverizes and shreds the waste. There are no blades inside most garbage disposals; instead, an impeller (often incorrectly called fan blades) pulls at the waste and water to create high powered, twisting suction.
The water and waste becomes a cyclone that drills through the pipes, sending the waste through the pipes at a speed and consistency that won't easily clog. The same twisting force can clean off a lot of buildup in your pipes. Residue from fats, oils and other hardening substances can be washed away enough to keep the pipes clear for long periods of time.
You can use this feature of the garbage disposal to troubleshoot clogs. If the pipes somehow become clogged and it isn't food waste that could be mixed with water for disposal, simply grab some eggshells and vinegar. Crumble the eggshells into a container of vinegar--about a cup should do--and turn on the hot water. Let the sink fill a bit, then turn on the garbage disposal and pour in the eggshell mixture.
The eggshells can tear away at the clogging materials, clearing the pipes in a matter of minutes. The hot water helps by loosening any materials that are water soluble.
Repairing Clogged Garbage Disposals
It can happen to anyone. You may be in a rush and decided to put in a tough chunk of leftover beef. Some of the foods may have been too solid for the garbage disposal, but it can be hard to gauge exactly how much is too much until a problem happens.
Thankfully, a garbage disposal's clogging situation can be reversed. Many disposal units have a reversal switch, allowing the impeller to unwind itself. Many impellers are built to avoid getting clogged in reverse as possible, but you'll need to be careful as you pulse the garbage disposal in reverse.
Before locating the switch, make sure that no one else is working near the garbage disposal. Keep any curious or hasty fingers away, and consider putting a bucket or bowl upside down over the sink's drain opening.
Locate the switch by consulting the manual for your garbage disposal, then switch it to reverse. Lightly tap the on switch for the garbage disposal, pulsing for only a second before turning it off again. Only try to remove the clogged material when there are no hands near the power switch for the disposal unit.
If the clog won't come loose, or if the disposal unit seems to be breaking apart, contact an appliance repair professional, such as Kaylor Appliance & Refrigeration Service, for a deeper look at the problem.