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F.H. Furr's Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical Insider Blog

Garbage Disposer 101

It’s a pretty safe bet you learned a lot during your educational career, but sometimes algebra or English lit just don’t cut it when you’re faced with day-to-day issues. If you find yourself scratching your head when it comes to that garbage disposal thing in your sink, consider this your cheat sheet. The best part? There’s no test afterward.

  1. Never, ever, ever put your hands in or near the disposer, even when it’s not running. This one is self-explanatory.
  2. Always run a steady stream of cold water while the disposer is running. Hot water makes food particles mushy, which in turn makes them cling to the blades.
  3. Do not put lemons down the garbage disposer. If you spent more time dozing than listening in chemistry class, you may have forgotten one crucial piece of information: lemons (and other citrus fruits) have a high acidity content. Over time, the acid will corrode your disposer and pipes, leaving you with a much bigger problem.
  4. Not all foods can go down the disposer. Stringy items such as celery and corn husks bind up the motor. Bones, coffee grounds and eggshells dull the blades. Leftover bacon grease congeals and clogs the pipes.
  5. Bigger (and more expensive) means better. The key to garbage disposers is to consider your household needs. A big fancy disposer isn’t necessarily better if you live by yourself and rarely cook. Conversely, a cheap disposer will wind up being more expensive in the long run due to clogs and repairs if you use it frequently.
  6. If your house doesn’t already have a disposer, you’re not out of luck. Most new homes are being built with disposers already in place, but if you live in an older home you may not have one. They can be added after the fact. That brings us to our next point…
  7. Don’t try to install or replace a disposer if you don’t know what you’re doing. Be honest with yourself. If you don’t have the slightest clue what to do and the instruction manual looks like Greek, hire a professional.
  8. Pour a generous amount of boiling water into the drain once a week. The boiling water helps flush the pipes and keeps things clear without using abrasive chemicals.
  9. Run the disposer a few seconds after grinding to make sure everything is adequately disposed. Similarly,after you turn off the disposer, run cold water for a few seconds to make sure everything flushes through.
  10. Use ice cubes to eliminate odors. The bigger, the better! Toss a handful or two in the disposer, turn the water on to a slow trickle, and run the disposer. It will get rid of particles that build up on the blades and cause odors.

F.H. Furr Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning proudly serves Fairfax and the surrounding area. Call us at (703) 491-1234 to learn more about garbage disposers.