Garbage disposal units are underappreciated but an indispensable part in our kitchens. These electric motor powered systems spin at high velocity to churn the solid wastes into minute particles capable of being flushed out by water.
They work silently and unnoticed until there is a problem and it stops working. And when they do, it can be more than an inconvenience. Most of the times the malfunctioning is induced by careless utilization or putting it under tremendous strain.
Common problems associated with garbage disposals are:
- Leaking unit.
A prevalent plumbing problem is a leak somewhere in the system. In garbage disposal, it can be due to loose and weak rings, a tear in the walls, faulty gasket, cracks, and weak connections.
- Slow performance.
A lazy disposal could be a signal for clogging and blockage. It could be due to the following reasons – chunks of hard food items, bones, and skin, oily and greasy residues, seeds or shells of fruits, paper and wood pulps, peels of fruits among others.
- Clogged system.
The first indication of a clogged disposal unit is the loud noises it starts producing. When this happens and if it is not switched off immediately, it can exhaust the motor.
- Foul-Smelling disposal.
As the place where you prepare delicacies to tickle your taste buds, the last thing you want is to have it spoiled by foul smells from under the sink. And downing gallons of water down the unit is not going to solve the problem. A sluggish disposal system and bacterial colonies are usually the cause of this problem.
How to keep your garbage disposal working efficiently.
A garbage disposal unit is, in essence, a machine. And a machine that is neglected, put through harsh treatment and not maintained will die faster than its counterparts. Although it is a fact that it will sustain wear and tear, there are ways we can minimize it to get the best out of the unit, whether in terms of performance or durability.
- Refrain from putting in oils and fats.
Food wastes that contain a lot of fats and oils residue, as well as lard, should not be dumped in the system. These will stick to the sides of the system and eventually cause clogging. It can be very hard to clean as well. If you must do it, keep it to the minimum as best as you can.
- Always use cold water.
Cold water facilitates the removal of fat and oily residues from the wastes. Occasionally dropping in ice cubes into the system will make the blades more sharp. On the other hand, hot water can damage the sensitive parts of the disposal. Other liquids that should not be put in it are cleaning agents, bleach and other chemicals.
- Limit what goes into it.
We take it for granted that the motor is capable of grinding everything. However, hard substances such as coconut shells, coffee grounds, fruit seeds, eggshells, bones, and shoots of fruits and vegetables cannot be broken down completely. Instead, it can cause indigestion or clogging in the unit.
- Keep the water running.
So long as the disposal unit is in operation, that is. It is important to remember that the garbage disposal works in conjunction with water. Therefore, do not turn off the water supply while it is still running. In fact, allow the water to run for some few some extra seconds after the disposal has finished turning.
Lemon or orange peels in the system will not only aid in the cleaning process but also contribute a fresh smell. It is advised to turn on the motors every other day even if you do not have wastes to grind. This will prevent the blades and the unit from rusting and corrosion.
Regular cleaning is a must to keep the disposal unit running smoothly. A homemade solution of vinegar and baking soda is an excellent and natural way to give the system a thorough clean. Regular cleaning makes the unit more efficient and also prolongs its life.
What can a professional plumber do for garbage disposal?
Licensed plumbers will not only diagnose the problem but also repair the damages and offer you the best course of action. Not all malfunctioning units can be repaired or replaced and vice versa. The solutions that a professional plumber may offer include:
- Replacing the seal, tightening the bolts or replacing the gasket. In most cases of a leaking unit, a professional can easily differentiate between the need for performing a repair or a procuring a replacement.
- For sluggish and weakly performing disposal systems, disconnecting the drain pipe and discharge drain, scout for obstructions and clearing it may be performed. Tools and types of equipment may be used to assist in the cleaning process.
- When working on a clogged disposal unit, hex-head wrenches may be employed to assist in the activity. However, it is essential to note that garbage disposal systems come in different models. Only a licensed professional will know exactly which tool to use for which model and so on.
- Reputed plumbing companies also have personnel ready to provide their services in different locations at any time. You do not have to compromise with availing the services from a substandard company and spend your hard earned money.
Professional plumber, to call or not to call?
They are not called professionals for anything. It is their field of expertise, and so a mechanical unit such as a garbage disposal is best left to them.
The mechanical parts of the disposal are made of motor and impellers. It also contains sensitive components inside the unit. Attempting to repair or solve the problem without proper knowledge can result in further damage. At worst, it can necessitate a replace of the unit which can be expensive.
A professional plumber is the best source of knowledge when it comes to the garbage disposal unit. Do not hesitate to call one whenever you sense something wrong with it. At Sedco plumbing, we are ever ready to provide you with our services.