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Sep 09 2023

Garbage Disposal Myths and Maintenance Tips

At Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air, we provide professional plumbing service for local home and business owners including garbage disposal installation, repair, and replacement. When it comes to household appliances, a garbage disposal is often both a mystery and a daily necessity. Yet, despite its common usage, misinformation and myths about this indispensable kitchen gadget abound. Understanding how it functions, its expected lifespan, the factors that affect its durability, and, of course, how to care for it properly can improve your experience. Read below to set the record straight about garbage disposals and learn practical advice for maintenance.

Understanding the Inner Workings of Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are situated under kitchen sinks and attached to the drain. When activated, the motor spins a grinding chamber containing impellers, which break down food scraps into small pieces. This makes it easier for the waste to flow through the plumbing and into the sewage system or a septic tank. Most units also have a built-in safety feature that shuts off the motor when something too hard falls in. This protection is not only beneficial for the machine but also helps protect your plumbing from severe blockages.

Predicting the Life Cycle of Your Garbage Disposal

The average garbage disposal is built to last about 8 to 15 years. However, this is merely an estimate, and the actual lifespan can vary based on multiple factors, including usage, the quality of the unit, and how well it’s maintained. Signs of a dying disposal include frequent clogs, bad odors that persist even after cleaning, and poor grinding performance. In some cases, the unit might not turn on at all. In these situations, it’s best to hire a qualified plumber who can inspect, repair, or replace your unit accurately.

Influences on Garbage Disposal Durability

Several variables come into play when considering how long your garbage disposal will serve you faithfully. First, the quality of the device you choose will directly affect its durability. Opting for a well-known, reputable brand could extend its lifespan. Also, the frequency and type of usage are important. Using your garbage disposal for large, hard items can cause early wear and tear, decreasing its longevity. Proper maintenance is also essential for maximizing the appliance's life.

Debunking Popular Garbage Disposal Myths

There's a lot of misinformation swirling around about how to use a garbage disposal properly. Here are some of the most common myths:

  • Running Water While Using the Disposal is Unnecessary: This is untrue. Running cold water while the disposal is in operation helps solidify fats and grease, making it easier for the unit to grind them down.
  • Garbage Disposals Can Handle Anything: Contrary to popular belief, these devices can’t grind everything. Avoid putting hard or fibrous items like bones or cornhusks into the disposal, as they can damage it.
  • Ice Cubes Sharpen the Blades: Ice cubes can help clean the garbage disposal but they do not sharpen the blades. Blades are usually made from sturdy materials that don’t require sharpening.
  • It's Okay to Use Hot Water: Actually, using hot water can melt fats and grease, causing them to solidify further down the drain, which can lead to clogs.
  • Lemons Clean the Disposal: While lemons make your disposal smell better, they don’t clean it. For a thorough cleaning, it’s best to use a targeted cleaning product or a baking soda and vinegar solution.
  • All Units are the Same: The size and power of garbage disposals can vary greatly, affecting their capability and lifespan.

Practical Guidelines for Keeping Your Garbage Disposal in Peak Condition

To ensure you get the most out of your garbage disposal, it’s advisable to:

  • Always run cold water during and after usage.
  • Avoid disposing of hard or fibrous items.
  • Clean the unit once a week with a safe cleaning solution.
  • Schedule yearly maintenance checks.

Do You Need a Garbage Disposal Installation or Professional Plumbing Service?

While understanding your garbage disposal better is the first step, maintaining it is an ongoing effort. If you’re faced with persistent problems or need to install a new unit, call Rooter Hero Plumbing & Air. Choose us for all your garbage disposal needs, and make the switch to a more convenient way of dealing with kitchen waste. Contact our office to learn more or to schedule an appointment with a qualified plumber in your area.

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