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How to Clean & Maintain Your Garbage Disposal

Like all mechanical things, garbage disposals don’t last forever – not even close.

So to enhance its useful lifespan, here are some simple steps you should learn and follow:

  • Feed the disposal a little at a time. Take care to keep utensils and your hands out of the drain.
  • Corn husks and other fibrous foods (like lettuce and onion skins) should be place in your garbage to prevent jamming or clogging the disposal.
  • Deodorize your disposal. Cut a lemon into small pieces and drop the fruit into the disposal along with two tablespoons of baking soda or a cup distilled white vinegar. Turn on the cold water faucet and then the disposal. The unit will clean itself as it grinds up the mixture.
  • Use a strong flow of cold water while running your disposal and for about 30 seconds after you turn it off.  This helps to flush food all the way down the drain line.
  • Do not put uncooked meat fat or liquid fats into your disposer.

Still, even with all the “TLC” in the world, sooner or later you’re bound to run into a problem with your garbage disposal.  Here’s what to look and listen for:

  • If the disposal won’t run, check the circuit breaker or fuse and replace or reset as necessary. Also check to see if the overload switch has tripped. Find the reset button at the bottom of the disposal unit and push it.
  • If the motor hums but the disposal doesn’t run, you may have a jammed impeller, and that’s most likely a repairable problem.
  • If the disposal runs intermittently, the switch or stopper may be defective.  If that’s the case, it’s time for a new unit.
  • A leaky garbage disposal isn’t necessarily a sign of rust.  The cause might be as simple as a loose connection, which can readily be tightened.
  • How about that all-too-familiar racket a disposal can sometimes make?  When you hear it, chances are you’re trying to grind up something your disposal wishes you wouldn’t.  The result could be a damaged blade, impeller or motor.  But don’t be too quick to have it repair, because it could cost you less to replace it.

Bottom line, once a disposal stops doing a good job of grinding, or starts to leak, that’s usually the ball game. Give it a little loving care, however, and the game will no doubt last a little longer.

Having trouble now with your garbage disposal or simply think it’s time to replace it?  Contact the professionals Connor Plumbing today, and we’ll get the job done to your complete satisfaction, guaranteed.

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