4 Garbage Disposal Maintenance Tips

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You use your plumbing system every day. But, if you are like most people, when you think of problems with the plumbing, the first things that come to mind are clogged sinks or leaky faucets. It is common for homeowners to overlook potential problems with one of the most used plumbing features in the kitchen: your garbage disposal. Whether you only use your garbage disposal on occasion or it gets frequent use, proper maintenance will help to reduce the need for unexpected plumbing repairs. Here are a few do's and don'ts for your garbage disposal to ensure it keeps working like it should:

Avoid Fibrous Materials

The only things you should "feed" the garbage disposal is organic matter. Basically, it is best to avoid any fibrous materials, such as onion skins or corn shucks. These types of food items, especially foods that are stringy, such as celery, can get wrapped around the blades, causing them to jam or even worse, cause motor malfunction.

Avoid Grease

Meat drippings and fatty oils should also not be put into the garbage disposal because they can build up inside of the disposal. Fatty oils and meat drippings are also the leading cause of clogged pipes. If by chance something oily will be going down the drain, running cold water into the garbage disposal will help keep the oils in solid state and allow the blades to do their job.

Prevent Corrosion and Sludge

One of the easiest ways to maintain and care for the garbage disposal is to keep it clean. Regular use will help to prevent moving parts from corroding and possibly locking up. Don't use any harsh chemicals, such as drain cleaner, in the garbage disposal. To help keep the disposal clean, put a few drops of liquid dish washing soap down the drain while running cold water. The soap will break down any built-up sludge and help to reduce bad odors. You should use this method to clean the disposal and drain about once a week. Putting citrus fruit in the garbage disposal will also help to reduce odors.

Practice Safety

Large bones, plastic, glass, and metal should never go into the garbage disposal. Plumbing repair for the garbage disposal as well as the drain will be likely in the event of anything too hard coming in contact with the disposal blades. If the garbage disposal gets jammed, you should never reach into it with your hands. The blades are extremely sharp and you may not be aware of the motor being on. Always check the drain by running cold water in it before turning the disposal on, and if it does become jammed, contact a plumber to inspect the disposal and do any necessary plumbing repairs.

With proper care and maintenance the garbage disposal will last for many years without the need of a service call. Most problems are minor and can be easily solved by a trained plumber, so if you have any concerns about how it is operating, the safest practice is to contact a local plumber instead of trying to repair a garbage disposal on your own.

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