An in-sink disposal, also known as waste disposal unit or garburator, is the device underneath your sink that shreds food waste so that it can pass through plumbing. A garburator is a great way to keep the smells of old garbage out of your garbage cans and kitchen. But what a lot of people aren’t aware of is that there are many items that cannot be put down the garburator and there are simple ways that you can properly maintain your disposal to prolong its life.
By first turning on the cold water, this works better than hot water which makes greasy scraps soft, then turning on the garburator and adding food scraps without overloading the system and causing it to trip the power. The shredder breaks down the food in the grinding chamber then an impeller forces the liquid particles down the drain.
We wanted to offer a few tips on how you can help keep your appliance in top shape for many years of trouble free use:
- If the unit hums but does not spin this means it is jammed or clogged. To clear a jammed disposal you must first disconnect the power supply as a safety precaution by unplugging or turning off the breaker. Check the bottom of the unit to see if it has a hex nut in the center, if so use the appropriate size Allen key or the one supplied with the disposal inserting into the nut and forcing it back and forth to free the impellers. If there is no hex nut then try a piece of wooden broom stick or something similar putting it into the disposal and pushing against the blades to free it up.
- If there is standing water in the sink this means the drain is clogged either in the disposal or further down the drain line. In these cases you may require the services of a qualified plumber to help you out.
To ensure proper care of your disposal, below are some useful tips and best practices on how to best maintain your system:
- Always use cold water when grinding. Hot water melts fats clogging the machine and pipes.
- Never overfill – the disposal always needs a bit of room for the motor to move and grind up the contents.
- Run water before during and after grinding to ensure the pipes are clear. Do not let run the disposal ‘dry’.
- Do not grind overly fibrous scraps such as bones, coffee grounds, banana peels, celery, egg shells or corn. Both can cause particularly stubborn drain blockages (fibers get tangled, and starches get thick).
- Do not pour bleach or chemicals into the system
- Keep foreign objects out
- Keep anything too hard out of the disposal. The shredder will dull and become less efficient. Small hard objects can also get stuck and jam the rotating parts. Some items to avoid are hard shells from shrimp, crab and other shellfish, hard bones, and un-popped popcorn kernels.
- Grinding a lemon will reduce bad odors and freshen your disposal.
- Grinding a handful of ice cubes help to clean the disposal and keep the blades sharp
- If the disposal will not be in use for a period of time such as going away on vacation try putting a tablespoon of vegetable oil in it while spinning to help prevent rust build up.
If you have some useful tips on how to maintain your in sink disposal, please share them in the comments section of our blog.