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Roadrunner Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing Blog

What’s Wrong with My Garbage Disposal?


If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, you probably love it. It makes cleanup a breeze, and you don’t have to worry every time a stray green bean from dinner slips down the drain.

But sometimes, garbage disposals do encounter problems. If you’ve got a garbage disposal behaving badly, we’re here to help. 

First, a safety warning: Garbage disposals can be hazardous. They don’t contain blades, which is a common misconception. But they do have fast-moving blunt impellers, which push the food outward against the outer grind ring. Putting your hand in a garbage disposal is extremely dangerous. If the simple remedies listed here don’t solve your problem, you absolutely must rely on a professional, who is trained to fix garbage disposals without causing safety risks.

Something Got Stuck

This is the situation when you might be most tempted to reach into the disposal. Something you were trying to grind got wedged in the impellers and won’t go down. Instead of using your hand, try to dislodge the obstruction with a sturdy handle, such as that of a broom, mop, or large wooden spoon.

The Drain Is Clogged

This problem requires a professional. Despite the name, a garbage disposal is not actually for garbage. There are several things you should never put down the disposal, and if you have, they may be causing your clog.

  • Actual garbage: This disposal is for food waste, not plastic, metal, or other things that should have gone in your trash can.
  • Inedible food waste: Bones, peach pits, corn cobs… if you can’t chew it, your disposal can’t, either.
  • Tough fibers: The strings of celery, onion peels, corn husks, and other plant matter can entangle the impellers.
  • Swelling starches: If you didn’t eat that leftover rice or macaroni in time, put it in the trash. Filling your disposal with piles of starch and pouring water down on them can cause bloated starch to clog your drain.
  • Fats: That butter or bacon grease may seem like a liquid when it’s warm, but when it cools down inside your pipes, it will solidify, causing a fatty blockage.

The Sink Stinks

Before you call for garbage disposal repair in Los Alamos, NM, you should try a simple home remedy which might clear up the issue. Simply pour generous amounts of baking soda and vinegar down the drain and allow them to fizz for ten minutes before rinsing them down.

If this natural deodorizer doesn’t make your sink smell fresh, you should schedule repairs right away. Occasionally, sink stink can be caused by blocked sewer vents, allowing sewer gases to bubble up drains. Because this is dangerous, don’t ignore a persistent odor.

It’s Not Grinding Well

If you’re concerned that the food waste isn’t being ground properly, or the impellers are struggling to do their job, call a professional. There’s a common misconception that putting ice cubes into the garbage disposal can sharpen the blades.

But now you know two very important things about your disposal: there are no blades, and you should never put something down the disposal that you wouldn’t be able to chew.

Contact us today to schedule repairs for your garbage disposal.

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