According to a Home Advisor survey, handymen and plumbers receive the highest number of service requests for backed-up garbage disposals during November and December. Perhaps between Halloween, Thanksgiving and the holidays, people assume that the garbage disposal can swallow any and everything.
Garbage disposals operate on a motor system that circulates rotating blades under the sink to grind up food particles and other waste. However, since these small motorized appliances are used frequently in the home, they can easily become jammed or clogged. Home Advisor found that during the holidays, clogged plumbing is the top garbage disposal service request and 65 percent of professionals claimed that grease is culprit.
“When used properly, a garbage disposal should last up to 10 years,” said Dave Lupberger, ServiceMagic’s home improvement expert. “If you try to grind the wrong items it can significantly shorten the disposal’s life and end up costing the homeowner more money in repairs down the road.”
Home Advisor advises homeowners how to avoid garbage disposal repairs with a list of items homeowners should avoid placing into a disposal:
- Fibrous foods — that includes pumpkin pulp. Read more about that here.
- Coffee grounds
- Rubber or metal
- Potato skins
It is also important that homeowners never do the following:
- Overfill their garbage disposal.
- Use chemical drain cleaners to unclog it. It is unlikely for chemical cleaners to work and they leave the sink full of toxic liquids.
When grinding food in a garbage disposal, cold water should be running simultaneously to help the garbage as it is forced through the cutting blades and to keep the disposal cool. If items get stuck in the unit for too long and the sink begins to produce an unpleasant odor, homeowners can eliminate the smell by grinding up a small lemon peel with ice cubes while running warm water.
If your garbage disposal still goes on the fritz, you can contact Home Advisor to match you up with a local plumber in your area of Chicago. Simply visit Home Advisor’s website, list your problem and indicate where you are located.