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Chewing over Garbage Disposals and resolving common issues.

If you can’t chew it, neither can your garbage disposal.

If you learn nothing else from this article, this would be the most important fact to come away with. Because if something will break your teeth, it will also break your garbage disposal.

As far as preventative actions go, you should also dispose of most physical food left overs by putting them in a trash can. If you take a plate full of leftover or uneaten food and just dump it down your sink, you’re asking for trouble. And you’re using your garbage disposal wrong.

I recall one tenant calling with a leaking dishwasher. The actual problem was that they had tried to dispose of over a gallon of pasta through the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal had dutifully shredded the pasta into tiny wedges and then the pasta had trapped itself into the trap under the sink in what soon became a solid mass of pasta clogging the pipes. When the dishwasher had later been run, the water couldn’t pass through the drain pipes and slowly filled the dishwasher until the water started spilling out of the dishwasher. To fix this problem, the plumber had to disassemble all of the pipes under the sink and throw the pasta chips into the garbage and then to reassemble the plumbing under the sink.

So regardless of the abuse and use you put your garbage disposal, what do you do when it stops working?

There are two steps you should use to troubleshoot a garbage disposal because garbage disposals are actually designed to shut down when they are asked to grind down something that they aren’t designed to break up, (rather than burning out the electric motor).

Most garbage disposals have a reset button on the bottom of the disposal. Press this switch to reset the circuitry.

Also, you can manually turn the garbage disposal. There is a hex shaped hole and most garbage disposals are designed to use a 1/4 inch Allen wrench. To turn the blades, first unplug (or power down the disposal from the circuit breaker). After that you can insert the hex wrench in the bottom center of the disposal. This should allow you to turn the blades until whatever is jamming them comes loose. Next remove the object from the disposal the way it got there.

These troubleshooting steps should take care of clearing most disposal issues.

If this doesn’t return the garbage disposal to working order, its time to turn to the professionals or replace the garbage disposal.

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