This post today is going to talk about the care, feeding, and selecting of the garbage disposal for your family. We all know that the loud, and sometimes smelly, things help making kitchen cleanup after meals more convenient, but there is more to your garbage disposal than just the surface we see. Underneath our sinks are machines that require the right kind of care and maintenance to keep it working well for our purposes.
Your selections start at the lowest end with some of the least expensive models, which are not much more than a motor and a grinder with no insulation at all. These models have about a third of the horsepower that you will find as you start moving up the line of disposals. The middle of the road models have can have ¾ thick insulation, making them much quieter. Another feature of this range of disposals are their anti-jam features. This means that the disposal goes into auto reverse when there is a problem inside instead of going until it causes the motor to break or overheat. Some batch feeder models will not run unless a specific mechanism is activated. Other models work off of a wall switch. The models that only work when you make contact with the specific mechanism provide a great safety feature, especially for those who have children that could possibly find their way to the wall switch and turn it on easily enough. An interesting addition to the variety of garbage disposals is a model designed specifically for use in homes with septic systems. You cannot normally have a disposal on a septic system because all of the organic matter doing down the drain is bad for your septic tank. Whether it grinds down the matter or not, the food the tank captures will still cause problems for the balance of bacteria and the like that can be found there doing its job for your home. What makes these disposals special is that they discharge an enzyme every time they are used, which helps to break down the food products that are going down.
Here are some tips on how to prevent your disposal from jamming. The inside of the disposal is comprised of a stainless steel wheel with teeth on it that will spin. It is either going to purée or liquefy the food products and drive them down through small holes found in the bottom of the disposal. The holes will direct the food out through the drain.
Out of all the foods that end up going into the disposal, you will want to be especially careful about stringy vegetables. Corn husks are terrible! Celery strings are also a problem because they get jammed up around the plate wheel. Disposals could never pulverize a stringy vegetable enough to get it down into the small holes.
The plate is going to cause all of the grinding, so that is the piece that is going to end up jamming. There is a long list of things that can cause a jam, but one of the most frequent causes is a spoon or other utensil that makes its way down inside, only to come out like a pretzel! Another one is any sort of coin or jewelry, like a ring. Foreign objects have no place in a disposal for some real damage can be caused to both the object and the disposal.
If your disposal jams, it could overheat and cause damage. There is usually a reset button located on the bottom that pops out, indicating the motor has jammed and also prevents overheating by cutting off the function to the entire unit. When repairing the disposal, you hit the button and try to clear the jam. After trying to clear the jam, you can oftentimes use an Allen wrench to access the bottom of your disposal. If you use the tool to move the wheel back-and-forth, you could possibly make the jam come free.
You never want to stick your hand down the disposal to remove the blockage that is causing the jam. There are a bunch of ways you can try different tools to achieve this goal safely. A cool tool you can use is called an extractor. The extractor allows you to get down into the tight space and try to pull the blockage out with the claw like end of the tool. Any other long and durable tool or item, like the end of a broom handle, could be used for leverage in unjamming the wheel.
These tips will help keep your garbage disposal in good shape and running for a long time. If you need help installing a new garbage disposal unit in your home or if your current unit has broken down, give us a call to take a look and perform a repair to get your kitchen moving smoothly once more.