American Benjamin Franklin coined the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and while he was speaking about fire safety, the same can be said about many things in our lives, like appliances and our household plumbing. When it comes to specifics, proper maintenance and operation will extend the life of your garbage disposal and prevent plumbing and drain mishaps.

A garbage disposal or garburator in your kitchen makes household duties less demanding, but if not operated or maintained properly, a garbage disposal can easily break down, block and clog the drains, requiring the services of a professional plumbing and drain service.

Garbage disposals work through a ring of teeth-like shredders that grinds the food and force it down your drain. There’s no real way to sharpen these shredders, however to help keep them working properly should:

  • Keep your garbage disposal clean - pour a little dish soap inside and let the garbage disposal run for a minute or so with some cold water after washing dishes.
  • Run your garbage disposal regularly - frequent use prevents rust and corrosion, assuring that all parts stay moving and prevents obstructions from accumulating.
  • Use a strong flow of cold water - solidify any grease or oils so that they can be chopped up before reaching the trap.
  • Cut large items into smaller pieces – inserting one at a time instead of trying to shove a large amount in at once.

At Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating, if you have a leaking toilet, a drain in need of cleaning, or a garbage disposal on the fritz, it just takes one call to bring your trusted Burnaby plumbers to your home in our Distinctive Yellow Trucks 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While we’re always here when you need us, till then here are a few tips on some of that preventative maintenance in what you should not put into your garbage disposal to avoid unnecessary repair:

  • Grease, fats and oils - any time you’re sending food scraps down the drain that have a greasy residue (from butters and oils), always run a lot of cold water at the same time. Greasy foods will distribute a film over the shredding teeth, diminishing their effectiveness, and eventually as the grease decays it will cause an unpleasant odor in your kitchen.
  • Pasta, rice, flour, potatoes and beans – raw rice and pasta swell in water and could create a blockage, and then as they breakdown they form starch, a gummy glue which wraps around the garbage disposal’s moving parts and clogs up pipes.
  • Fibrous foods, peels, and rinds - can wrap around the grinding teeth, preventing proper operation of the motor.
  • Non-food items - do not fare well in garbage disposals and can completely break down your garbage disposal.

If you’re in doubt, don’t think of your garbage disposal as a substitute for a kitchen garbage can - scrape all food scraps from plates, pots, and pans directly into the garbage can and only use the garbage disposal for the smaller food particles that remain. However, if something does get down the drain unexpectedly, call your trusted Burnaby plumbers - Hillcrest Plumbing & Heating at 604-299-1361 today. Proudly serving the communities of Surrey, North Vancouver, Langley, Richmond, and Delta in English, Cantonese, and Mandarin.

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