What’s The Best Way to Extend The Life of My Garbage Disposal?
A garbage disposal has an average life expectancy of between 10 to 12 years. Of course, how long anything lasts depends a lot on how you use it and how you take care of it.
My Garbage Disposal is Stuck!
Probably the biggest complaint we get calls about when it comes to a garbage disposal is that it is stuck and won’t grind the material that has been put into it. Many times a homeowner can take care of this themselves, but it’s important to follow the right steps.
Steps to Clear Your Disposal
First, if the disposal becomes stuck, make certain that the switch is off and then go to the Main Breaker Box and turn the circuit breaker to “OFF” before making any attempts to clear the garbage disposal. Most disposals also should have a safety “Reset Button”. These are meant to prevent long periods of the disposal being stuck and staying turned on. However, it’s not smart to just blindly depend on that for your safety. After you’ve confirmed that power to the disposal is definitely turned off, use the ‘HEX’ wrench that came with the unit and insert it into the receiver on the bottom of the garbage disposal. Move the ‘HEX’ wrench back and forth until you can turn it all the way around. Don’t even consider sticking your hand inside the garbage disposal. The best way to access the shredder blades is through the rubber drain, using a wooden spoon. Again, do NOT do this if there is any chance that power is still on the unit! If you can remove the object(s) that caused the problem with the spoon, then do it. Once you’re at this point, turn the power back on and press the “Reset Button” button on the disposal. Turn the cold water on and flip the switch to turn the unit back on. It should start operating again. If it doesn’t, then you probably need to call a professional to inspect it and possibly replace the disposal. Replacing the disposal may be the best option anyway if the unit is nearing the end of its life expectancy. We also recommend regular inspection and cleaning.
If you want your garbage disposal to last a while, there are several things you can do:
- Keep from placing hard objects in the garbage disposal. Items such as crabs, chicken bones, shrimp hard shells, popcorn kernels are all things that will dull the shredder making it much less efficient. That said; it’s important to note that every garbage disposal has its fair share of hard materials that it can take.
- Cut large food debris down into smaller pieces. If the food item is too large to go through the garbage disposal, cut it into smaller pieces and feed them into the unit one at a time.
- Use cold water when putting any waste down the garbage disposal. After having used the disposal to shred waste, run cold water for about a minute or so. Keep the garbage disposal on while the water runs.
- Cold water makes it easy for the water to go down and helps the disposal unit not to overheat. DO NOT use hot water. Hot water will melt the fat however; once the fat solidifies it may cause the drain to be clogged.
Use ice to remove debris build-ups from the edges of the shredder. While the garbage disposal is running you can throw in three to four ice cubes. If your disposal seems to have an odor, feed lemon or orange peels into it while it’s running for a fresh citrus smell. Don’t forget the cold water!