Some hate them, some love them, but we can’t deny that garbage disposals are a useful tool to have in any home. Garbage disposals have a bad reputation for causing issues, but technological advancements have made new garbage disposals more reliable than ever. If you live in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley or Greater Vancouver Area or own a business here, you may be considering a garbage disposal or already own one. In this blog, Mr. Swirl, the Friendly Plumber will break down everything you need to know, whether you own one, or are looking to purchase one.
How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?
We’ve all heard of garburators and garbage disposals, but how do they actually work? Well, a garbage disposal looks like a large drum that is plumbed in right beneath your sink and attached to its pipes. Anything that goes down your sink drain will pass directly through the garbage disposal. At the top of the drum there is a chamber with a strainer-like filter on the bottom. Any liquids or small particles will pass straight through this filter and out of the garbage disposal’s first chamber. If you have a garbage disposal, you can put larger food items down your drain, which will then get caught in this first chamber. In the solid waste chamber there is a larger impeller with big blades. Contrary to most thoughts, these blades are not actually sharp. They use blunt force to grind and smash the waste against the walls of the garburator. Once the waste has been grinded to a small enough size, it will pass through the filter at the bottom of the solid waste chamber. From here, all the water and small waste particles will enter the normal plumbing system. Garbage disposals are a simple contraption, but quite handy for disposing of small food waste.
Although your garbage disposal is pretty powerful, they can’t handle everything!
What you Can and Can Not put in Your Garbage Disposal
Can: Small Pits, fruit and vegetable waste, cooked meat, rotten food, ice and general soft food waste.
Can nots: Shellfish shells, grease and oil, potato and sweet potato peels, eggshells, artichokes, paint, bones, oatmeal, large amounts of pasta, coffee grounds, corn husks and non-food waste.
Why can’t we put some of these items in the garbage disposal? Well, because they can be very harmful to the system and cause breakages in your garburator. Things like shells and eggshells are too sharp or hard and could cause cracks or leaks in the garbage disposal. Grease and oil can build up and solidify in your plumbing causing a clogged drain. Fibrous foods like potato peels can cause blockages in the garbage disposal and some foods like large amounts of pasta or oatmeal will collect water and expand in your pipes and cause a clogged drain.
Common Garbage Disposal Problems
Since your garbage disposal is directly connected to your drains and sink plumbing, you’ll see many of the same symptoms of a clogged drain or leaking pipe. Some early detectable signs of problems with your garbage disposal are excessive grinding noises that aren’t usual or water backing up in your sink and drain.
The most common problem with garbage disposals is a jam. Jammed garbage disposals are caused by the solid waste chamber not draining properly and becoming backed up from improper use or neglect. Jams will cause you to have a clogged sink drain which nobody likes. We recommend hiring a friendly Mr. Swirl plumber from Coquitlam or Maple Ridge to help you out with your clogged drain and garbage disposal. However if you wish to deal with the matter in your own hands, it is possible.
Whenever you’re working with a garbage disposal, always turn off the power to it. You can do this by cutting off the breaker on which your garburator is powered. Even when not powered, exercise caution when working on a garbage disposal! If there is a jam, first check to see if your garbage disposal has a manual. Most manuals will give you a detailed explanation on how to open up your garburator and remove the blockage. On most garbage disposal units there is a small hole on the bottom where you can unscrew the trap door and access the solid waste chamber. If you can see the blockage, do not stick your hands right in the impeller, instead use the tool of your choice to reach in the chamber and remove the blockage.
If you leave a blockage or jam unresolved it will lead to the motor inside your garbage disposal burning out. If your motor burns out, your best bet will likely be to get a garbage disposal replacement. In any instance, if there is an issue with your garbage disposal we highly recommend getting a trained professional Mr. Swirl plumber to check it out. We can solve your garbage disposal issue faster and more reliably than most homeowners and at a better price than other plumbers in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Poco or the whole Lower Mainland.
Choosing the Best Garbage Disposal for You
There are few factors that will help decide the right garbage disposal unit for you. On your end, it will depend on your usage rate, amount of users, available space and cost. The factors you have to choose from in garburators are size, power, material, insulation and noise level. There is a large variety of garbage disposals on the market and any mix of these factors likely exists. If you want a garbage disposal that is quiet but powerful, there is options for you! Or if you run a restaurant and will be using your garbage disposal tirelessly day in and day out, a large durable unit will be your choice. Whatever type of garbage disposal you require, Mr. Swirl the Friendly Plumber can do your garburator installation.
Garbage Disposal Tips and Tricks
- If your garbage disposal starts to smell, put the rind of a citrus fruit (lime, lemon, orange, grapefruit) in your garburator and run it with cold water. Your garburator will now have a nice fresh smell!
- Clean your garbage disposal by running it with ice and vinegar or add baking soda and vinegar, cover your drain then run it. This will help clean the inside of your garbage disposal unit.
- For cleaning your drain, cut off the power to your garbage disposal so that you can scrub the inside walls of the drain better, without worrying about putting your hand too far.
- Hire a friendly Mr. Swirl plumber for any garbage disposal maintenance, garbage disposal replacements, installations and garbage disposal repairs.
- Break up large items before putting them in the garburator.
We hope with the help of this guide, you’re now a garbage disposal expert! Whether you’re doing a renovation, moving into a new home or upgrading, garbage disposals are a great tool to have. Mr. Swirl is here to help you with garbage disposals and you can ask us anything when it comes to them. We service Port Moody, Pitt Meadows, Poco, New West, Burnaby, Maple Ridge, Surrey, Coquitlam, Mission, Langley, Vancouver and the whole Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver Area. If you live in this area and require garbage disposal assistance give us a ring at 604-435-4665 or book us online now!