How To Maintain Your Garbage Disposal
Your garbage disposal is a small, yet important item. Properly maintained, it helps you avoid hefty plumbing bills. It is common for most people not to think about their garbage disposal until issues arise and it is too late. The damage is usually caused by these very common, avoidable mistakes.
Whether in a Chicago apartment or a single family home in the Northwest suburbs, you may take these simple steps to correctly use and maintain your garbage disposal, keeping it running smoothly. The following tips are designed to help you use your garbage disposal effectively with adequate maintenance over the life of your unit. This will ensure you maximize revenue from your investment property.
Check out this post for tips on increasing your property’s leasing value.
The following point out your ‘Do’s, or things of which you really want to make a habit, and the things you never, ever want to do, under any circumstances; your ‘Don’t’s:
Do use your disposal frequently! When your disposal is left to sit for too long, the moving parts can become rusted and fail. Run it at least one time each day to keep it in good working condition and avoid any corrosion build-up.
Do always flush your disposal with cold water when you turn it on! As the food stuff is ground up and you’re running cold water, the cool water temperature can solidify any grease that is trapped in the food and make it easier to grind.
Do grind citrus and other fruit peels in your disposal, it will keep things smelling fresh! From grapefruit to pineapple, kiwi to clementine, fresh fruit leaves a sweet scent.
Do make the job easier for your disposal by cutting up large pieces of food into much smaller chunks. Feed food scraps into the disposal slowly to avoid overworking the disposal. If you feel the sink shaking, the food item is too large
Don’t ever grind glass, metal, plastic or anything that is combustible. Cigarette should also never be disposed of via your garbage disposal. All of these items can cause serious and permanent damage to your disposal.
Don’t ever grind pasta, rice, or other foods that expand when they become wet. Since they can clog your pipes upon expanding, these foods are actually a main cause of clogs in drains that are attached to the disposal. This does not apply if the foods have been cooked and expanded to their maximum size.
Don’t ever grind an excessive amount of starchy foods like potato peels. The starch from starchy foods can build up and become glue-like which can cause mechanical failure.
Don’t ever pour grease or fat into your disposal. Not only can it negatively impact your disposal, but it can also cause build-ups and clogs in your drain.
Don’t ever put in foods that contain stringy or tough fibers. The stringy fibers in foods like celery and asparagus can wrap around the mechanisms and keep them from moving, while some leafy greens like kale or bok choy, and protective coverings like corn husks and banana peels can get stuck in the machine and break it.
Don’t ever throw coffee grounds into the disposal. While they will not harm the disposal, they can cause a clog in the drain. The same goes for eggshells and shrimp or crab shells.
Don’t ever put large bones down the disposal. Heavy, large bones may be too dense for your disposal and can cause it to break.
In addition to properly using your disposal, it is also important to take the necessary steps in maintenance. Every once in a while, throw some ice cubes into the disposal. The ice will clear any gunk off the blades while sharpening them. It may sound a little rough as the ice cubes are being ground, but it is completely safe for your disposal.
You can also freeze some white vinegar in ice cube trays to knock out foul odors. Two birds with one cube! For really bad smelling disposals, add some baking soda and allow it to sit for a couple of hours before flushing with cold water.
Wash your disposal regularly by pouring some dishwashing liquid down the disposal, adding cold water, and switching on the disposal. Maybe it’s a little fun to let it bubble up? We’re not gonna tell on you.
If Your Disposal Stops Working
In many cases when a disposal stops working or seems to stop working, the fix can be an easy one as long as you own a flashlight. First, on some models, there is a red or black reset button on the disposal itself. In some cases, pressing it will solve the issue.
You can also check your electrical panel to make sure a circuit breaker has not been tripped off. If it has, simply flip the switch back so it matches the rest of the breakers in that column of the electrical panel.
In some cases, you may want to jump start the disposal by hand. There is a nut on the bottom of the disposal that you can use an Allen key to turn, or you can buy a special disposal tool at most home improvement stores.
With a little care your disposal will last for years and work great along the way!
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