Category: Disposals

How to Maximize Your Garbage Disposal’s Lifespan

how to maximize your garbage disposal's lifespan

Garbage disposals are handy little appliances. Sometimes we’ve got food scraps or other pieces of trash that we can’t just throw away, so disposals grind them up for us and let us forget about them completely. But they’re not indestructible. Just like with any appliance, you’ve got to take care of it to ensure that it doesn’t break or wear down. But how do you do that, exactly?

It’s not like you can just “perform maintenance” on your garbage disposal. While that’s true, you can take a few steps to keep yours running smoothly for years to come. All it takes is a more mindful approach to what you can and can’t put down the disposal. Here are a few tips for how to maximize your garbage disposal’s lifespan from the experts at Roman Electric!

Make It Smell Better

The garbage disposal is named what it is for obvious reasons: it’s where we dump garbage down. And what does garbage do? It smells horrible, of course. And last time we checked, you can’t install any air fresheners down there to help with that problem.

But what you can do is use the disposal’s own mechanisms to make it smell better. Put some nicer-smelling garbage like lemon or orange peels down there and grind them up. This will infuse the garbage disposal with some more pleasant smells.

Dump Some Hot Water Down There

Although our disposals are pretty good at getting rid of what we put in them, some food gets stuck. The blades don’t always grind everything up completely, and the leftover food bits can harden and stick there.

To help soften these solidified food bits up, pour some boiling water down the garbage disposal every so often. It’ll help break these hardened parts up and make them more likely to getting ground up by the blades the next time you use them.

Use Some Ice

It might seem counterintuitive to put harder objects like ice down the disposal and running it, but this can actually be beneficial. Since garbage disposals have metal blades, they are susceptible to rusting. Putting ice cubes down the drain and running your disposal, however, can help remove some of this rust — helping your garbage disposal become more efficient at grinding down the things you put down there.

Just Leave It On

Sometimes it’s good just to let your garbage disposal keep on chugging for a bit before turning it off. When you leave yours on and allow it to run for a minute or so, it’ll catch all the food bits that might be hiding somewhere down there and clear the disposal for good.

Always keep the sink running so that water is flowing and constantly flushing any of these dislodged food bits down the drain — the last thing you’d want to do is to break up the food, only to have them just rearrange themselves and remain stuck down there.

Garbage disposals can be finicky appliances, but with a bit of care and thought, yours will stay efficient for years to come. Roman Electric’s team of expert plumbers can help you with any disposal problems or questions you may have, and we’re always willing to help you out.

Give us a call at 414-369-3798 to speak with a team member today!

Troubleshooting Common Garbage Disposal Problems

Only a few inconveniences are as uniquely frustrating as dealing with a garbage disposal that isn’t working right. Since the only time we really need to use one is when we’re getting rid of what essentially amounts to trash, a broken disposal usually means we’ve got to deal with some nasty garbage instead.

Garbage disposals are efficient and incredibly appreciated, but even they run into problems. When you’re not sure how to deal with them, the clock starts ticking. Eventually the smells start getting worse and the complications intensify, and you’ve got some stinky trash that needs to go immediately. Here are a few garbage disposal problems you might encounter and how to troubleshoot them!

Disposal Won’t Turn On

For whatever reason, sometimes the disposal just won’t work at all. Thankfully, you can usually whittle down the list of potential causes, because it’s more than likely a power problem.

  • Disposals get their power from a cord that plugs in under the sink, and there’s a chance it might’ve gotten jostled loose. Check to see if the cord came unplugged somehow.
  • There is a reset button on the underside of the disposal, too. Press it if the cord is still plugged in and that could do the trick.
  • Otherwise, the problem might be a result of a tripped breaker. Stroll over to the breaker box and see if any of the switches have flipped – if they have, then just reverse it and the problem should have corrected.

It’s Jammed

Even though disposals are typically pretty great at grinding up whatever you put down there, they occasionally get jammed with something they can’t get rid of.

  • Before you try anything, turn the power off. Disposals obviously have sharp blades, and you can get hurt. Never stick your hand down the disposal, regardless of whether it’s on or off.
  • Figure out where the jammed object is by using a flashlight or just by peering down in it.
  • Use some type of grabbing tool, like a pair of tongs, to fish the object out. Again, DO NOT stick your hand down there, even if you’re certain you cut the power off.

It’s Got a Clog

Although the general idea is the same as when your disposal is jammed, a clog usually happens when liquid gets backed up. You probably won’t be able to yank out one specific problematic object like you would with a jam.

  • Instead, fill the sink with some soap and water to help break up whatever is causing the clog. Take a plunger and place it over the sink and plunge it in the same way you would a toilet.
  • Never use drain-cleaning chemicals on your disposal. The corrosive components of them can harm your disposal’s metal components, so if plunging doesn’t work, then the problem is likely somewhere in the P-trap.

If the above solutions don’t work, then you shouldn’t try anything more extensive unless you have plumbing experience. Otherwise, schedule an appointment with us! Roman Electric’s plumbers have the tools and expertise to solve your malfunctioning garbage disposal along with any other plumbing problem you may have.

Give us a call at 414-369-3798 to find out more information!