Take Care of Your Garbage Disposal This Holiday Season


Picture this: You just finished making the biggest holiday feast that would rival Martha Stewart herself and you are about to start washing all the dishes that are in the sink from that feast you just had. You go to turn on your garbage disposal but nothing happens. That’s one nightmare that you wouldn’t want to have on your hands, especially during the holidays.

The biggest misconception homeowners have is that their garbage disposal can handle anything you can throw at it. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth. With the holidays just around the corner, the biggest call we get right after the feast is the garbage disposal isn’t working or it’s making a buzzing noise.

What is garbage disposal and how does it work?

Understanding your dreaded garbage disposal and how it works is a lot easier then you think. Your garbage disposal is just like any other appliance in your home. It comes in a couple of different motor sizes – 1/3 horsepower, 1/2 horsepower, and 3/4 horsepower are your more common sizes for a residential kitchen. The garbage disposal is a very simple appliance. It has a motor on the bottom that spins a set of blades on the inside. The strength of those blades is determined by the size of the motor. As you put food and other table scraps down the drain, the blades inside cut and bash the food until it breaks it down to a small enough size that it goes down the drain.

What can I put down my garbage disposal?

This is a question we get asked quite often. The best answer our team can give to my customers is as little as possible. We know it doesn’t seem right, but the hard truth is your garbage disposal can’t handle as much as homeowners tend to throw at it. What tends to happen is, the more you put down your garbage disposal is the likelihood something will get jammed under one of the blades. Then, all of a sudden, your disposal will be making a loud buzzing noise.

How do I know my garbage disposal has had too much?

Here are a few red flags that you should keep an eye on with your garbage disposal:

  • Buzzing sound – This is the first sign that you have fed her something she doesn’t like or can’t handle. The buzzing noise that you are hearing means that the blades on the inside have stopped turning but the motor is still trying to make them move. If left unstuck, you eventually won’t hear any noise at all when you flip the switch.
  • Water leaking from bottom of disposal – A garbage disposal shouldn’t be leaking from anywhere. The most common spot for a garbage disposal to start leaking is from the bottom of the housing. So if any water is running down the garbage disposal and it has a leak, it will more than likely leak from the bottom. Now, if this does happen, the only option you have is to replace the garbage disposal.

Tips On Making Your Garbage Disposal Last Longer

  1. The best way to help clean out your garbage disposal, without reenacting a scene from Final Destination is to put ice cubes down the drain and turn on the disposal. What this will do is help your garbage disposal. While it’s chopping up the ice, the ice will slam against the walls of the garbage disposal and knock out any debris that is inside the disposal.
  2. Here’s a pro tip: say you wanna clean the inside out and make it smell good at the same time. What you can do is make lemon ice cubes. Add lemon peels to the water before you freeze it into a cube. Toss a couple of cubes into your disposal and bam, as it chops up the cubes, it also chops up the lemons and now you have a fresh-smelling disposal.
  3. If you have ever looked at the bottom of your garbage disposal, there is an Allen key-sized hole at the center of the disposal. While you have the disposal off, take the garbage disposal key and stick it into the hole and turn it around. What this does is it manually spins the inside blades without turning the motor on. This is also the proper way to unjam your disposal.

No matter what type of garbage disposal you have, this is are excellent points to keep in mind during your kitchen’s biggest time of the year. Make the holiday seasons enjoyable and take care of your garbage disposal! If you do experience a problem, your local team of professionals at A.M. Plumbing and Rooter today. We are proud to serve Lake Elsinore, CA and the surrounding areas with lasting plumbing solutions. Happy Holidays!

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