How to maintain a garbage disposal

how to maintain a garbage disposalClogged drains are a major inconvenience and garbage disposal repair can be a costly proposition. That is why it is important to know how to maintain a garbage disposal.

Not only does regular maintenance and cleaning keep your garbage disposal in good shape, it also keeps your kitchen smelling fresh and clean. Below are some of the ways to effectively maintain a garbage disposal in order to keep it working smoothly for years and minimize the likelihood that you will need to call for drain cleaning or plumbing services.

#1:: Keep An Eye On What You Put in the Garbage Disposal

Avoid putting anything in the garbage disposal that is not biodegradable food. Non-food items can damage both the motor and the blades. Other things to avoid include:

  • Nails, glass, screws, children’s toys, utensils, hair, grease, plant or flower clippings
  • Gritty or fibrous items like coffee grounds (especially in large quantity), potatoes, corn husks, artichokes husks, etc. Also avoid onion skins and egg shells since the membranes can easily stick to the garbage disposal and wrap around the shredder ring.
  • Uncooked or liquid fat to prevent build-up on drain pipes. Throw bones, coffee grounds and eggshells into the trash instead of running them through the disposal to avoid clogged disposal.

#2:: Run Cold Water While the Disposal is on

In order to get the best out of your garbage disposal, you need to run the cold water tap for a few seconds before switching it on. This will ensure a good flow of water through the unit and it will help lubricate and cool it while it is operating. On the other hand, hot water may cause it to overheat and trip the cut-off switch which most disposals are fitted with.

Another reason not to use hot water while the unit is running is that it can melt fat and allow it to re-solidify as a blockage further down in the drain. Once you finish grinding, switch off the disposer but allow the water to run for about 5 to 10 seconds to make sure all the pulp has been washed down the drain.

#3:: Run Disposal Regularly

Even if there is nothing to grind up, you still need to turn on the water and run the disposal every few days to move the parts around. Frequent use ensures that all parts stay moving and prevents obstructions from accumulating. This is also similar to exercising your body to keep it in good shape. If you don’t, the disposal can rust, freeze up, or corrode and any leftover food inside can harden, leading to clogs and odors.

#4:: Run Your Disposal for Longer Whenever You Use It

This is another great tip on how to maintain a garbage disposal. But many people make the mistake of turning off the unit once the grinding noises stop. To remove small particles that have not been cleared away, it is important to leave the garbage disposer on (while water is running) for several seconds after the grinding noises subside. This will help clean out the unit and ensure nothing is left behind or clinging to the sides.

#5:: Clean Disposal Regularly

Food particles and other items can build up in the garbage disposal over time, causing it to smell and work less effectively. To get rid of this issue, you need to clean the unit thoroughly once a week or every 2 weeks. This will also help prevent blockages and jams.

Periodically, take orange or lemon and toss it into the disposal. The juice and oils from the fruits and peels naturally clean the walls inside the garbage disposal and create a fresh, long-lasting smell.

Even though they are normally self-cleaning, garbage disposals need a little love and attention from time to time. Just like any other machine, proper use, care and maintenance will extend the life of your garbage disposal. Be sure to follow the tips discussed above on how to maintain a garbage disposal so that you can get the best out of it.

About Garbage Disposal Horsepower and Grind Capacity

About Garbage Disposal Horsepower and Grind Capacity

About Garbage Disposal Horsepower and Grind CapacityGarbage disposal horsepower is what actually differentiates between the least expensive and most expensive garbage disposals.

In general, the size of the horsepower is greatly dependent on how much you intend to abuse the machine. Garbage disposals usually come in 1/2, 3/4, and 1 horsepower models. The lesser motors are fine for one person or perhaps couple who only generate small quantities of waste. It is recommended that you go for light use, 3/4 horsepower for normal home use, and one horsepower for heavy home use or light commercial.

1) 1/3 HP Garbage Disposal

Power, at 1/3 horsepower is at the lower end of the scale. Although they may seem like a great economical option, their utility level is quite limited. This is because they get easily jammed and are usually designed with cheaper internal components that will rust out within the shortest time frame. However, they should be considered for very limited use and if you want to use your garbage disposal on a temporary basis.

2) 1/2 HP Garbage Disposal

A 1/2 horsepower garbage disposal is a light-duty unit and is appropriate for small households of not more than two persons or for locations not subject to frequent use, such as vacation homes where it does not get too much use. However, you need to remember to feed the particles slowly and run plenty of cold water especially if you have a special occasion or a large dinner party where you may need to dispose of a lot of food particles at a time.

3) 3/4 Horse Power Garbage Disposal

This is a medium-duty unit and it is appropriate for most single-family dwellings where the unit is frequently used. Make sure you understand what you can and cannot put down the garbage disposal especially if you have children. This will help avoid problems in future if everyone understands how to use the disposal.

4) 1 HP Garbage Disposal

Though more expensive, a garbage disposal horsepower of 1HP can take in bigger amount of scrap food. It is reliable and has the capacity of executing difficult tasks consistently – mincing up bone fragments and challenging food items scraps. This is because the disposal is a lot more forgiving with more power. It is perfect for offices or other places where a more powerful garbage disposal might be required.

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Apart from the ones highlighted above, there are also commercial grade garbage disposals for hospitals, restaurants, schools and other places of business that require more powerful disposal.

Grinding Capacity

Actual capacities of disposers vary and compact models most often are adequate for families. They tend to provide an easier installation in especially restrictive or tight under-the-sink areas. The physical size of the disposal is an important factor to consider depending on the amount of room available.

For durability, look for multi-stage systems and stainless steel grinding parts for better performance. Also, the more grind stages your disposal has, the finer the waste will be when it is sent to your septic tank or sewage system. The type of waste you want to get rid of will determine your choice.

Each garbage disposal has its own capacity for hard objects. Even if the size of a grind chamber is large enough that does not mean you can throw a large amount of food waste in it all at once, but it gives a good indication of its intended capacity. The more expensive models of the same brand tend to have higher hardness capacities.

Whether you are looking to put one for a college food service kitchen or a large food producer, there is always a garbage disposal horsepower and capacity that is right for the task. Make sure you read our garbage disposal buying guide to know what to look for before buying one.