‘Tis the season for many festivities. And those festivities will often take place in your home and involve plenty of cooking. This can place your garbage disposal in a precarious position. It might have made it through Thanksgiving dinner still working, but that’s not a guarantee that it will continue through the end of the year because of all the stress placed on it.
Below are a few tips for taking care of your garbage disposal unit so you don’t have to make an emergency repair call. (Repairs for disposals are one of the most common that plumbers receive this time of year.)
Don’t Use Ice Cubes to “Sharpen the Blades”
This is a common mistake, and it’s still traveling the Internet. If you think your disposal isn’t grinding down food as well as it should, it’s something for a plumber to look into. Ice cubes can potentially damage the disposal—and they don’t do any good anyway because disposals don’t have sharp blades. They use blunt impellers to hurl food against a grind ring.
Watch out for FOG!
FOG is an acronym for “fats, oils, and grease.” These are three main enemies of garbage disposals because they look harmless when in hot liquid form and people don’t hesitate to pour them right down the drains. When they cool, however, they become solid. This can mean jamming up the moving parts of the disposal.
Run Cold Water Down the Disposal
Hot water is more effective for cleaning dishes, but you shouldn’t use hot water when you run the disposal. The reason is that it may cause the disposal to overheat. Remember to keep the water cold.
Watch out for Food Waste the Disposal Can’t Handle
Here’s a good rule of thumb: if your teeth can’t chew it, the garbage disposal can’t chew it either. Things like bones and un-popped popcorn kernels need to go into a trash receptacle instead. Other items to keep out of the disposal include fibrous vegetables, rice and pasta, and coffee grounds.