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How to Keep Your Garbage Disposal Running Like New

It can be a big problem when something goes wrong with your garbage disposal. Disposals can leak, become clogged or just stop working altogether. Here are some Dos and Don’ts when it comes to using and maintaining your garbage disposal.

Operating Your Garbage Disposal (The “Do” List)

Start cold water flowing before you begin running the disposal and throughout its operation; continue running cold water for about 30 seconds after you turn off the disposal. This is useful for two reasons:

  • Cold water keeps fatty deposits together in a solid form. This means the fatty residues don’t flow into the nooks and crannies of your plumbing as they would if you used hot water.
  • Cold water allows the motor to operate at a lower temperature, thereby increasing its lifespan.

It’s important to use your disposal only for soft food items. Hard items (bones, fruit pits, corn cobs, etc.) can result in dull, damaged blades and a burned-out motor. Even among soft foods, there are some that shouldn’t be put down the disposal, including:

  • Pasta and rice – These foods may expand in your pipes, even if they’re cooked when you dispose of them. Pasta, rice, and other starchy foods (i.e. potatoes, flour, etc.) are one of the most common causes of a clogged garbage disposal.
  • Coffee grounds – May help alleviate bad smells but can also cause severe clogs.
  • Fibrous materials – Corn husks, celery, and other stringy foods can cause damage to the motor and get caught in drains and pipes.

Leaks can pop up quickly in your garbage disposal. A leaking garbage disposal can cause huge problems in your kitchen, so it’s important to check them often to make sure there are no new leaks. Leaks usually occur in one of the following spots:

  • Sink flange – This is where the disposal connects to your sink.
  • Drainpipe connection – This is usually on the side of the disposal, where the water drains out of the unit and into the pipes.
  • Bottom of unit – The bottom of your disposal may leak due to cracks or other issues.
  • Dishwasher hose connection – If you have a dishwasher, there will be a hose connecting the disposal and the washer. This hose can leak from its connections, or some materials may crack and leak over time.

Keeping Your Garbage Disposal in Good Shape (The “Don’t” List)

There are several things you shouldn’t do if you want your garbage disposal to work well over the long term. These include:

  • Using strong solutions like bleach or drain cleaner in your disposal. These can damage the seals and working parts of your disposal, leading to leaking and premature failure.
  • Leaving dish rags in or near the sink. Washrags, sponges, and scrubbing pads can end up in your disposal, causing clogs and damage.
  • Overfilling the disposal. When large quantities of food are put in the disposal, it can cause the unit to bog down under the heavy load, decreasing its longevity.

Getting Help from the Professionals

At Ace Home Services, we know how big the problems can be with leaking garbage disposals, and we have the experience and know-how to help solve the problem before it gets bigger. We have helpful professionals standing by who know how to fix a garbage disposal or replace it with a new one if need be and we never charge for service calls. We don’t expect you to pay overtime just because your problem happens on a night, weekend, or holiday, either. Contact us today to get to the bottom of your plumbing problems, no matter what they may be!

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