Having a garbage disposal under kitchen sink is pretty handy. Certain types of food scraps can be sent through the disposal, eliminating the need to throw them in the trash. Best of all, a garbage disposal is a pretty simple device from mechanical standpoint. Though simple, it does a fantastic job.
Understand that no garbage disposal is invincible, and the devices do wear out. They can also break. If you abuse a garbage disposal, it could eventually clog up your kitchen sink and refuse to surrender until a professional plumber comes in and forces it to.
Below are five things to know about your garbage disposal, compliments of Salt City Plumbers. Salt City is a local plumbing company servicing homeowners in Salt Lake City, Utah.
1. It’s Not a Trash Compactor
If you have always believed a trash compactor and garbage disposal are the same thing, think again. A garbage disposal allows food waste to pass through it and into your home’s plumbing system, where it is carried away to join the rest of the sewage flowing through your neighborhood. A trash compactor captures food waste and compresses it into a tidy little package you ultimately throw in the garbage can.
Under-the-sink trash compactors are a dying breed these days. People who do have trash compactors in their homes generally have larger devices that look a lot like dishwashers. They certainly don’t fit under the sink.
2. It Shreds Food Waste
A garbage disposal is a device that actually shreds food waste. If you were to shine a flashlight into your disposal, you would see a metal plate to which three or four blades are attached. Each blade can spin independently, which happens as the whole plate spins. Any food waste coming in contact with the blades is instantly shredded, allowing it to pass through holes underneath and on to the sewer system.
Why should you know this? Because sticking your hand down the mouth of a garbage disposal is unwise. Do not even consider it without first turning off the power. If you have problems that require getting to the blades, you are better off calling a plumber.
3. The FOG Rule Applies
There are definitely things you should never put down a garbage disposal. The top three are fats, oils, and grease. Just remember the acronym FOG and you should be all set. As for why these three things are bad for garbage disposals, it is as simple as the fact that they create clogs. FOGs should be disposed of in your trash or through other means that do not involve your plumbing.
4. Potato Peels Are Bad News
More than one homeowner has ruined a garbage disposal by attempting to get rid of potato peels. Never, ever put potato peels in a garbage disposal. They are too heavy and dense to be shredded properly. As a result, they collect at the bottom of the disposal and create an impressive clog that may not be effectively cleared without taking the entire disposal apart.
5. They Require Regular Cleaning
Finally, a typical garbage disposal needs regular cleaning to prevent the buildup of odor-producing bacteria. Thankfully, cleaning is as simple as pouring a cup of bleach down the drain, letting it sit for a minute or so, and then rinsing thoroughly with cold water. You can also buy non-chemical cleaning solutions if you prefer.
The garbage disposal is a handy device found in most modern kitchens. Learning basic care and use techniques will mean years of reliable service from your unit.