Don't Let a Broken Garbage Disposal Ruin Thanksgiving!

How a Working Garbage Disposal Can Save the Holidays

Garbage disposals are one of those modern conveniences that are easy to take for granted. With a flip of a switch, homeowners can turn on their disposal to get rid of most food items without having to worry about the sink becoming clogged up. It also helps prevent trash cans from getting ripe and stinky with too much food waste. And with all the cooking homeowners do during the holidays, garbage disposals get a lot of work. And with that work comes the possibility of disaster. Read on to discover all about garbage disposals. 

How Does a Garbage Disposal Work, Anyway?

Garbage disposals haven't changed too much since their invention in 1927. Their overall design and function remain the same. However, they have gotten better at what they do. 

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The typical garbage disposal is installed underneath the sink and runs off a small motor, powered by the home's electricity. Food waste collects in the main chamber directly underneath the sink. When the disposal switch is turned, an impeller plate starts spinning very quickly, forcing the food to a shredding ring around the chamber's sides. The force, combined with the shredding ring, breaks the food into tiny bits. These little bits of food are then washed out of the disposal and into the home's drain lines, eventually entering the municipal waste system or septic tank.

There are no blades in modern disposals, as many people think, and the shredding ring doesn't actually move. The impeller plate flings the food at the ring, and the force of that motion shreds the food. 

Sings a Garbage Disposal Is Failing

Most garbage disposal issues are fairly easy to spot. Often, the first thing homeowners will notice is that it takes longer to dispose of food waste. Disposals have reset buttons on the underside of the machine. Homeowners who find themselves having to reset their disposal often may have a failing motor. 

Other signs include water leaking from the unit, the motor humming without the disposal working, or a strange smell coming from inside the sink. Sometimes, the grinding ring's teeth can become dull, causing a buildup of rotting food at the disposal's edges. 

Tips To Prevent Garbage Disposal Problems


Many garbage disposal problems are the result of improper food waste. Even the best disposals can struggle with the following food items:

  • Cooking oil or grease
  • Fibrous foods (like celery, rhubarb, and pumpkin)
  • Coffee grounds
  • Potato peels
  • Bones
  • Pasta, oatmeal, and rice

Some of the foods above, like coffee grounds, grease, pasta, oatmeal, and rice, won't necessarily damage the disposal itself. However, they can become stuck in the drain or around the sides of the disposal, causing a clog. Some of these problems can be avoided by running the disposal with cold water.

Whatever the garbage disposal problem, it's always a good idea to call a professional plumber to take a look. Leaving an issue unfixed can cause more problems, eventually leading to motor burnout, meaning that one might have to replace the whole unit. Unfortunately, these issues often culminate during the holidays, when disposals work overtime, so homeowners should get their disposals checked out before Thanksgiving! 

About E.R. Services

Since 1997 E.R. Services has been helping homeowners with their plumbing issues. They offer a satisfaction guarantee and excellent workmanship from on-time and professional techs. They never charge an extra fee for emergency service, no matter what time or day of the week. Contact them today for drain cleaning service in Charlotte, NC. 

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