Is Your Garbage Disposal Clogged? Here’s What You Need to Do

Garbage disposals are an excellent tool to have in your home. They can break down food waste which reduces odors. Not only that, but they help the environment by slimming down the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

A Consumer Reports finding from 2020 showed that nearly half of all Americans have garbage disposals in their sink drains. A clogged drain can lead to the formation of mold and other harmful germs that could cause health issues for your family down the line.

My Garbage Disposal Is Not Draining!

If your garbage disposal is full of water, there are a few things you can do to try to fix it. A few important reminders:

  • Make sure you turn off the breaker that connects to the garbage disposal. You do not want to be electrocuted while trying to fix it.
  • Wear gloves to prevent any damage to your hand from whatever is stuck in the drain. Even if it’s just food waste, you can never be too safe.
  • Don’t stick your hand down the garbage disposal. You’ll be using tools to remove objects if necessary.

How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

1. Disconnect the Power

Turn off power to the garbage disposal. Every one is different but a licensed plumber should be able to help you find the correct connection if you cannot. If you don’t turn off the correct switch on your breaker you risk electrocution which is a lot worse than a jammed garbage disposal!

2. Remove Water

You can plunge the drain by using a flat plunger to get any standing water out of your sink. Failing that, you could also try scooping the water into a cup or bucket. If you have a lot of water clogging up the drain, Kiddco Plumbing has devices that can remove large quantities of water without causing a mess or damaging your kitchen.

3. Unclog

Wield a flashlight with one hand and shine it into the garbage disposal. Use pliers or tongs to try to remove whatever is causing the blockage. Remember not to stick your hand inside of the drain! You’d rather get a tool stuck in there than risk injury to your fingers. Once the blockage is removed, you can turn the power back on and try running it again.

4. Reset

Still jammed? Try turning the power off to the garbage disposal again and then look under your sink to find the reset button. The reset button is a small red button near the underside of the unit. Turn the power back on and try running it again.

5. Unjam From Underneath

If the unit is still stuck, turn the power off to it once more. You can attempt to unjam the impellers inside of the garbage disposal by getting an allen wrench and inserting it into the hex socket at the underside of the garbage disposal unit. Twist the bolt in both directions to manually move the impellers and free them up. Be careful that you don’t take apart your garbage disposal unit! Otherwise your floor could be covered with water which will lead to more damages.

If you’re still unable to fix your problem or if you’re apprehensive about going through these steps, give Kiddco Plumbing a call. Our experts have decades of experience unclogging garbage disposals throughout the Northern Virginia area. We’ll make sure that the problem doesn’t get worse before it gets better.

How Do I Avoid a Clogged Garbage Disposal?

Ensure that you never encounter this problem in the first place by taking good care of your garbage disposal unit. Here are some things you can remember that will keep your drain line clean in the future.

1. Cold Water

Always run cold water when using your garbage disposal. Hot water can release fats and acids from the food in your disposal. Those fats can clog the drain pipe and release foul odors into your home.

Make sure you don’t run the garbage disposal without running water! That’s even worse than running it with hot water as the water is necessary for the steady flow of food particles through your plumbing system.

2. Routinely Use Your Garbage Disposal

Make sure you don’t let food sit in your garbage disposal for too long without running the unit. First of all, letting food sit in the disposal will attract pests and bugs over time. It could also cause your kitchen to smell like rotting food.

But even if there’s no food in the garbage disposal, make sure to turn on the water and run the unit every couple of days. Your unit will rust or freeze over time if it isn’t used regularly, so just stay in the habit of maintaining it and making sure it’s still working.

3. Avoid Putting These Items In Your Garbage Disposal

Not every bit of food waste is safe for the garbage disposal. Egg shells, potato peels, banana peels, coffee grounds, and other greasy foods can lead to future clogs and should not go in your garbage disposal. You should obviously avoid putting non-food items in there as well. Glass, plastic wrapping, and other materials can’t be ground up properly and will cause major damage to your pipes.

Kiddco Plumbing has decades of experience providing plumbing solutions to families all throughout the Northern Virginia area. We can provide 24/7 emergency services for homes and businesses no matter how difficult your problem may be.

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