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Taking Care of Your Garbage Disposal for the Holidays

sunny-plumbersHere’s something you may not know: the busiest day of the year for plumbers is the day everyone else knows as “Black Friday,” the Friday after Thanksgiving. One of the reasons for this is the sheer amount of cooking done in the kitchen and the food waste that can end up clogging kitchen drains. There’s one specific part of the kitchen we often have to repair or replace on this day, and that’s the garbage disposal.

This all sounds scary, but you’ve made it through at least several Thanksgivings before without plumbing mishaps. We’d like to help you make this Thanksgiving, as well as all the other festive events following in December, easier for your garbage disposal. It isn’t too difficult—you just have to know how best to treat your disposal.

What to Keep Out of the Disposal

The main way to keep a kitchen sink disposal in good shape is to make sure only certain items go down it. The name garbage disposal is misleading, because the disposal doesn’t work like a garbage can and cannot be treated like one. The disposal is designed to handle food waste only, and not all types of food waste. To make it easier for you, here’s a list of what to keep out of the disposal.

  • Inorganic materials: I.e. actual trash. Plastic, paper, cigarette butts, anything that isn’t organic. Put this in the actual trash or it may end up breaking the disposal.
  • Unchewable food waste: This is a common mistake people make with their disposals, which is to assume that any leftover food can go down it. But anything your teeth can’t chew is something the disposal can’t grind down. The main offenders to watch for are fruit pits, unpopped popcorn kernels, and meat bones of any kind. These go in the regular trash. 
  • FOG: This is an acronym for fats, oils, grease, a group of cooking products and byproducts that are liquid when hot, but which cool into sticky solids. Pouring these down the disposal not only threatens to gunk up the disposal, it also can cause clogging in the pipes. We recommend pouring these into a separate container (old coffee canisters work well) and removing this to the outside trash. 
  • Fibrous foods: This group includes onion skins, celery, and asparagus. These “stringy” foods can easily catch in the mechanisms of the disposal and break it.
  • Pasta and rice: These foods seem innocent—but they absorb water and swell up, potentially causing problems.  

Other Tips

Please don’t run the disposal when there is no water pouring down it. Disposals aren’t designed to run “dry.” Also let the disposal continue to run for a few seconds after grinding up the food, then leave the water running for a few seconds after you shut off the disposal. These steps will help clear the hopper of food waste and give the waste a chance to move down the drain. 

When you need help for your kitchen plumbing Las Vegas, NV, you can trust to our plumbers. 

Call The Sunny Plumber Las Vegas for all your plumbing needs. Bright and Shiny and Won’t Show Our Hiney!

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