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Plumber Tips: Enjoy the Convenience of a Garbage Disposal for Years to Come | Dalworthington, TX

Plumber Tips: Enjoy the Convenience of a Garbage Disposal for Years to Come | Dalworthington, TX

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A garbage disposal is a very convenient appliance for many residents of Dalworthington, TX. Disposing of food scraps while preparing meals or immediately after eating saves time and becomes a habit very quickly. Garbage disposals are not so pleasant when they aren’t working correctly. These appliances can even be dangerous in certain circumstances.

It’s a good idea to make sure your garbage disposal is well maintained before holidays and other periods of frequent use. Call a plumber to evaluate the garbage disposal and other plumbing fixtures or appliances. Regular maintenance catches small problems to avoid unexpected plumbing issues that interrupt parties, work, or travel plans.

Daily Use

Daily habits make a big difference in garbage disposal performance. Always cut food scraps into small pieces and grind solid pieces one at a time. Excessive amounts of food all at once can damage internal components. Run cold water every time the disposal is used to flush food particles down the drain.

It is easy to pour hot fat and grease in liquid form down a drain or garbage disposal. Unfortunately, grease becomes a thick, semi-solid gelatinous mass at cooler temperatures. It clings to pipe walls and may clog disposal traps.

Use copious amounts of water while pouring grease into a disposal, and find alternative disposal methods if you experience frequent clogs. Pour fat and grease into bottles to throw it away with other household trash. A plumber may be necessary to fix garbage disposals, pipes, or drains clogged with grease.

Chicken bones, fruit pits, and eggshells also cause clogs easily, but these items also have some benefits. Small amounts of hard, dry substances clean and sharpen disposal blades. Use caution and avoid grinding bones, eggshells, and fruit pits every day.


Proper cleaning is essential for long-term, reliable garbage disposal performance. Add dish soap to your disposal every time you finish grinding scraps. Pour a small amount of liquid dish soap with tiny pieces of lemon or orange peel into the disposal and run cold water for a few minutes.

Soap and citrus peels break down grease and reduce unpleasant odors. Ground up citrus peels are acidic and inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold. The oils from the fruit peels are natural cleansers and provide a long-lasting pleasant scent. Peppermint or spearmint oil are also effective deodorizers.

Hot water is frequently preferred for most cleaning purposes, but cold water in a garbage disposal hardens food scraps and refuse. This is beneficial because blades break up solid or semi-solid substances. Hot water softens scraps and turns fat into a sticky, liquid goo that coats the disposal’s internal parts and blades.

You can also use baking soda and vinegar on a weekly basis to keep your disposal clean. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the disposal and follow it with a cup of white vinegar. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then pour a gallon of boiling water down the drain. This is the exception to using cold water in your disposal at all times.

Running several ice cubes through a disposal is useful for many models. The ice sharpens blade and removes built-up grease. Pour vinegar into ice cube trays to freeze it so you can sharpen and deodorize at the same time. Plumbers may be able to sharpen dull blades for you, but blades in most models are not replaceable.

Try to run your garbage disposal regularly, even if there are no food scraps to discard. Use cold water and soap if nothing else is available. Internal components can rust, corrode, or become stuck in place if the disposal is not used for long periods. Have a plumber inspect a disposal that has not been in regular use before trying it.

Foul Odors

A persistent foul odor means something is not functioning correctly, especially if regular cleaning and deodorizing efforts are ineffective. Odors from a garbage disposal are almost always a result of bacteria or mold in rotting food scraps. Old food sticks in the disposal as blades become dull and grinding chamber parts wear out over time.

Decomposing food eventually gets inside parts and recessed spaces that can not be cleaned or rinsed. Sometimes the only way to eliminate odors is taking the entire appliance apart to clean and reassemble. This is a job for a professional plumber.

Never reach inside of a garbage disposal to remove a clog or attempt repairs. Contact a professional plumber to find the source of foul odors and repair or replace the appliance. Garbage disposals are part of a home’s electrical and plumbing systems. Most people do not have the appropriate background experience, training, or education to install or repair complex appliances. It is much safer to consult a plumber.

Acceptable and Unacceptable Garbage Disposal Waste

A garbage disposal is only for food waste. It is not a replacement for garbage cans and trash pick-up services in Dalworthington, TX. Glass, plastic, paper, metal, cigarette butts, and large bones damage disposal blades and ruin the motor. Put these items in the trash or recycling bins.

Seafood shells, banana peels, chicken skin, sausage casings, stickers on produce, sauerkraut, and nuts are common items that cause problems in garbage disposals. These items are often ground and flushed away without a problem, but they can also damage disposals and lead to a shortened functional lifetime for your appliance.

Seafood shells are hard and durable. Cracking crab claws and lobster tails is not always easy, and the blades in your disposal can not grind them easily either. Oyster and mussel shells may be too hard for the blades to grind at all, so these shells wind up clogging drains. Banana peels are tough and fibrous. They can catch on blades and cause jams. Peels, chicken skin, sausage casings, and produce stickers may create a sticky mess in drainage lines.

Nuts are usually fine, but nut shells can damage disposal blades. Sauerkraut does not pose a risk to the disposal, but it turns into gooey mush almost immediately after grinding. The soft, sticky cabbage may form clogs in pipes and drains, and no one enjoys the smell of rotten cabbage wafting from drains.

Certain types of food may cause problems as well. Pasta and rice expand in the presence of moisture. These foods stick to the sides of the disposal. Make sure grinding is complete before turning off the motor to avoid build-up of sticky foods. Fibrous vegetable scraps often catch on blades and cause jams. Remember not to remove items causing a jam by hand. Serious injuries may occur if the blades move while a person’s hand is inside the appliance. A plumber can repair the unit safely.

Potato peels can also jam a garbage disposal. Starchy potato peels mix with water during grinding and turn into a paste very similar to glue. Put vegetable skins and peels into the disposal one at a time and always run water during grinding. Excessive food build-up frequently needs to be cleaned by a skilled plumber to prevent jams and avoid burning up the motor. A compost heap is a great way to recycle fibrous vegetables such as cornhusks, celery stalks, onion skins, or artichokes.

Clogged Drains

Fibrous vegetables and starchy peels or skins can also stick in drains and water lines. These substances catch other food particles and create substantial clogs. Do not put coffee grounds through a disposal either. Grounds do not harm the appliance, but they do build up in pipes and drains. Plumbers have appropriate equipment to remove stubborn clogs and debris.

Use lots of water when you need to grind substantial amounts of food. A pound or more counts as ‘substantial.’ Turn the disposal off and plug the sink drain. Fill the sink about a quarter full with cold water. Pull the plug and turn your disposal on. The water should be enough to flush the drain line of debris that could lead to a partial or complete stoppage.

A garbage disposal should grind food within a few seconds. Slow grinding could be a result of dull blades that need to be sharpened. Clogged drain lines also cause slow grinding. A plumber can disconnect the drain tap, discharge the drain pipe, and remove any obstructions. Consider having your drain lines snaked every two years as part of regular home maintenance to reduce the chance of serious clogs that could back up drains all over the house.

It is best to call your local Dalworthington, TX plumber for clogged water or sewer lines, especially if you suspect the clog originated from the garbage disposal. Plunging and drain cleaning products are usually ineffective for removing clogs deep within a home’s plumbing. Tell the plumber if you already used drain cleaners so appropriate preparations are used. You can also call a plumber to retrieve items that were accidentally flushed through the disposal, such as rings, utensils, or keys.

Mechanical Problems

Many things can cause malfunctions in a garbage disposal. Garbage disposals are usually located under the sink drain. Food waste is stored in a hopper chamber and the motor spins when power is turned on. A flywheel with impellers grinds food scraps. The ground up material is flushed out through the home’s waste lines and sewer system.

A few simple checks can help you find the problem if your disposal does not have power. Make sure your appliance is plugged into an outlet and the outlet has power. Check the fuse and breaker box as well. If everything seems to be in working order, it is time to call a plumber to diagnose the problem.

Leaks from garbage disposals may be easy to fix, but they can also be very costly and time-consuming. Many leaks come from a faulty O-ring or a loose part. Perhaps the problem can be fixed with a replacement hose or tightened connection.

Other leaks may come from a damaged sink flange or cracks in seals around drains. Plumbers’ putty may be enough to fix the problem temporarily. Plumbing fixtures in the kitchen and around the sink are frequent culprits behind leaks too. Sometimes replacing the unit costs less than repairing it and saves time in the long run.

Households with septic systems may have to follow local rules or ordinances related to garbage disposals. There are other considerations when choosing a new model as well. More powerful units actually produce less noise and may be able to handle large items such as bones that would ruin weaker models. The disposal must fit under the sink and connect to the home’s plumbing infrastructure. Local plumbers understand relevant regulations and know how to install units properly. Professional advice helps homeowners choose appropriate disposal models to meet their specific needs.

A humming sound when you turn the garbage disposal on may be caused by an item stuck in the reservoir. It could also be caused by mechanical parts running out of sync. Unplug the appliance and switch it off before doing anything else. You can use a flashlight to look for the item.

Some people use tongs to remove items causing a jam, but this is not recommended. Some models have reset buttons that may fix the problem. Some models allow users to free jammed motors with a hand-crank. Other models come with a special tool to unjam the unit from the inside.

A lot of things can malfunction or go wrong with such a complex system involving many moving parts. Older disposals often develop cracks and holes in the casing. This happens as the walls wear down from regular use, and holes are often caused by foreign objects accidentally put through the disposal. All appliances need to be replaced eventually. Call the plumbers at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Dalworthington, TX to examine your garbage disposal and determine if repairs or replacement are necessary.