10 Facts about Garbage Disposals

Many homeowners take the simple garbage disposal for granted. Aside from being one of the most common cause of plumbing repair calls, many remain unaware on its proper operation. With such significant convenience delivered by the disposal, let us take a look at a couple of facts about garbage disposals to help us understand its operation better.

The Birth

Honestly, how many homeowners are even aware how the garbage disposal came about? Did you know that it was an architect in Racine, Wisconsin who made the first garbage disposal in 1927 from his home workshop? John Hammes may have been the one who first made it, but it was not until 1938 when the InSinkErator Company came out with 58 units that commercial manufacture was made.

Sales of garbage disposals began to rise after World War II when kitchen modernization and remodeling became popular. Today millions of garbage disposals are being sold and installed all over the world. In fact, in many modern homes the disposal has become an indispensable fixture that has brought a lot of convenience.

Operating Disposals

Are you aware that many of the service calls received by professional plumbers have to do with garbage disposal problems? Many of the problems however could have easily been avoided had homeowners known better how to operate the disposal properly.

In reality the design and operation is rather simple. By using centrifugal force, the food scraps are grounded by a spinning plate fitted with sharp metal blades. Once the waste has been broken down, it is washed down and passes through the wastewater pipe. This simple mechanism highlights how easy it could be to keep the disposal in optimum efficiency even for more than 10 years.

What You Should Know

Unfortunately the myths about garbage disposals only contribute to its breakdown. The lack of factual knowledge prevent homeowners from following proper maintenance and care. Here are some facts that you should know.

  • Dish soap cleaning – using a small amount of dish soap in the disposal and allowing it to run for a few minutes helps to maintain its cleanliness;
  • Cold water – only cold water should be used when washing away grounded waste. This is to help solidify the grease collected on the impellers so that it can be washed away with the waste;
  • Running water – the water should be allowed to run for about 15 seconds after operation to clean any debris left in the chamber;
  • Smaller portions – make sure that that the food scraps placed inside the disposal are small enough to be grounded effectively;
  • Preventing odors – pieces of lemon and ice can be grounded to prevent smelly odor from forming, the same way that frozen vinegar cubes can be used to kill bacteria that may cause foul odor;
  • Food items – the disposal is designed for food items only so non-food products should be thrown in the trash;
  • Waste blockage – food items like egg shells and coffee grounds can be handled by disposals, but may create a blockage in the plumbing so place them in the trash bag or use them as garden fertilizers instead;
  • Fibrous food – although disposals are designed to handle food items, it is not fully equipped to deal with fibrous food that can cause it to jam, use them for compost pile instead;
  • Avoid chemicals – chemical-based cleaners should not be used with disposals because they are too harsh and can damage the blades; and
  • Grease and bones – oil, grease, and animal bones should never be placed in the disposal, in the same manner that starchy food should not be put in there because it can expand inside the pipes and cause a blockage.

These are the facts that you should know when it comes to garbage disposals. Should you face any problems with your disposals, call Scott English Plumbing immediately.