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How To Avoid a Plumbing Disaster With Your Garbage Disposal

A foul odor coming from a jammed or leaky garbage disposal is the last thing you want to smell in your kitchen. Not to mention, the average cost to repair a garbage disposal ranges from $450 to $1,100. Don’t want to deal with a plumbing disaster? Learn how to avoid one instead.

You can avoid a plumbing disaster by following a few simple tips, including:

Already have a problem with your disposal unit?

Contact Michael & Son to handle your garbage disposal repair today!

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Use cold water

When you run your garbage disposal, be sure to also run your water to get food scraps down the drain. However, you can’t run any temperature water—it has to be cold.

Cold water helps keep grease and fat that slips into your disposal in a solid form. Keeping grease and fat in a solid form can help you avoid clogged drains (which we’ll get to later). On the other hand, hot water can liquify or keep grease and fat in liquid form, which can stick to your drain.

After turning off your disposal, continue running cold water for a few seconds to flush out any other debris.

Don’t overuse your disposal

Your garbage disposal is a great tool to get rid of some of your scraps. However, you shouldn’t use your disposal to get rid of everything. It’s not your garbage can.

Overusing your garbage disposal can quickly lead to clogs, shutdowns, smells, and leaks, which is why you shouldn’t rely on it for large quantities of food. Use your disposal for small food scraps that come off your plates (and be sure to use plenty of water).

To avoid a plumbing disaster, don’t put the following items down your garbage disposal:

  • Coffee grounds: Although they can help neutralize odors, coffee grounds can gather in and clog your drain.
  • Grease and oil: These liquids can build up in and clog your drain.
  • Fibrous materials: Fibrous materials, like banana peels and celery stalks, can wrap around the blades and cause a breakdown.
  • Glass or metal: Grinding up glass or metal can overwork your blades and cause a breakdown. Always check that silverware doesn’t slip down into your disposal before you run it.

When we say don’t overuse it, we don’t mean to avoid using your disposal. Run it frequently to help keep parts moving and make sure the disposal is obstruction-free. Just be sure you’re putting the right kind of materials down the drain.

Keep your garbage disposal clean

If you don’t want to deal with a smelly, blocked-up garbage disposal, regularly keep it clean. You can use:

  • Ice: Send an ice cube into your garbage disposal once a month to help keep your unit’s blades strong and catch debris in hard-to-reach places, like the sides.
  • Dish soap: After doing your dishes, pour soap into your garbage disposal and let it run for a few seconds.
  • Disposal cleaner: Occasionally use cleaner to help get rid of buildup and odors, but make sure to use a product that is compatible with your disposal.
  • Citrus peels: Run your garbage disposal with citrus peels, like orange or lemon, to improve odors.

Although you should regularly make an effort to keep your disposal clean, avoid using harsh chemicals (e.g., bleach) that can damage your system. And again, don’t use coffee grounds to eliminate odors (reach for a citrus peel instead!).

Get regular maintenance

It’s a good idea to hire a professional to inspect and maintain your garbage disposal and plumbing before you have a problem.

Get your plumbing inspected annually to help you catch issues early on before they become a plumbing disaster. Also, consider getting your kitchen drain line snaked every 18 to 22 months to clear out excess buildup from grease and other debris.

Michael & Son's Home Care Program can keep you from having a plumbing emergency

Ready to sign up for a preventative maintenance plan to help you spot and fix disposal issues before they snowball? Sign up for Michael & Son’s Home Care Program to tune-up and inspect your garbage disposal, receive priority emergency services in the event of an issue, and so much more. If you currently have a jammed, leaking, smelly, or dead disposal unit, contact us for a garbage disposal repair. We’ll send one of our expert plumbers (available seven days a week!) to repair or replace your disposal unit.

Select services are not available at all locations. Contact a location near you for service availability.

This blog was written on Sep 27, 2021. Any pricing information is subject to change.