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Don’t let a clogged garbage disposal ruin your holidays!

Each holiday season, we receive calls from homeowners who are frustrated and irritated looking for plumbing rescues because they have blocked garbage disposalsTrying to find plumbers that are available to help you over a weekend, or especially on a holiday can be a real challenge!  Although there are a few available, they are hard to find.  Here are some tips and reminders to hopefully help you not only avoid your kitchen sink from backing up from a blocked garbage disposal, help you avoid having to pay top dollar for a plumber  to rescue you over a holiday. 

1.  Do not pour turkey drippings or grease down the garbage disposal

2.  Grease is a culprit that can come back and haunt you also down the
     road by accumulating and “taking up housekeeping” so to speak, way
     down your pipe systems.  You may discover some weeks or even months later your pipes
     are clogged and blocking a drain you may have in your lower level.  These can require long
     snakes or hiring a drain cleaner to unclog if they get backed up too badly.  To keep your
     grease out of the drain, instead try draining grease into a strainer over a wide coffee can. 
     Store and reuse until can is full.  Easily dispose of the can on garbage day. 

3.  Do not let any tough or string-like turkey or other type of meat scraps go down the drain

4.  Watch for bones.  That goes for all bones!  As tough as a garbage disposal is, they are not
     made for grinding bones.

5.  Large pieces of cut up vegetables can pose trouble, too. 

6.  Pasta and rice are no-no’s for your disposal because they will ultimately swell around
     water, even if you put down smaller pieces.  They are both like sponges when they hit
     water and will expand in your pipes inviting a perfect clog!

7.  Egg shells should not be put down the disposal, either.  Some people believe they will
     help sharpen the disposal blades.  This is a myth.  They will cause more problems than
     any good.

8. Throw banana peels and potato peels in the garbage can, not the garbage disposal. 
    They are both problems waiting to brew down your pipeline. 

9.  Coffee grounds absolutely do not belong down the disposal.

10.  Do not over stuff your garbage disposal

11.  If you have anyone helping you with your clean up, make sure they understand what
      goes down the disposal and what doesn’t

12.  Remember to always run the water when you turn on the garbage disposal.  You will
       want to be sure you have water running at the same time the grinding action is taking
       place versus running it dry.  The water also helps to wash the debris down the drain
       and into the pipes smoothly.

What NOT TO TRY to fix a clogged disposal yourself:
Some DIY’er websites will advise you to use a combination of bleach or vinegar and baking soda washed down with boiling water to clear out the clog.  Plumbers will likely tell you these are not advisable or good for your pipes.  Our advice is to try and be proactive and stick to what should be put down the disposal and what shouldn’t.  You’ll have a far better chance at alleviating clogs by being friendly to your disposal. 

Here is a bonus tip to help make your garbage disposal smell good after the holidays and anytime:
Cut up small pieces of orange or lemon peel and grind in garbage disposal.  Or cut up small pieces of apple and grind up the same way.  Remember to always run water at the same time.  Don’t run the garbage disposal without running the water with it. 

Contributed by Diana Herzan

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