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Need Instruction in Garbage Disposals

VeryHappyVeryHappy Registered User Posts: 16,781 Senior Member
edited November 2012 in Parent Cafe
I have one for the first time in my life, in the house we just moved into. I may have done bad things to it a few minutes ago. What are the do's and don't's?
Post edited by VeryHappy on

Replies to: Need Instruction in Garbage Disposals

  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    What did you do?
  • VeryHappyVeryHappy Registered User Posts: 16,781 Senior Member
    Do I have to tell you?? It's embarrassing.

    I put artichoke leaves into it. Many artichoke leaves.
  • frazzled1frazzled1 Registered User Posts: 5,566 Senior Member
    Sorry, VeryHappy - I feel your pain. I have extensive experience with uncooperative disposals, but the only repair I've ever personally done is taking apart the pipes underneath the sink and cleaning them out. Sometimes that got things flowing again, and sometimes it didn't.

    Don'ts: lots of peels of any kind (potato/carrot - and I guess artichoke leaves are kind of similar). They contract into a huge mass.

    Be careful with the Thanksgiving leftovers and meal prep discards. I've read several times now that Thanksgiving and the day after are bonanzas for plumbers because so many people overstress their disposals. I hope yours is up and running again soon!

    We once broke a disposal with a single shrimp tail.
  • colorado_momcolorado_mom Registered User Posts: 8,380 Senior Member
    Avoid putting onion skins down the garbage disposer. I didn't know that and caused quite the excitement at the first feast at our new house.
  • VeryHappyVeryHappy Registered User Posts: 16,781 Senior Member
    So give me the positives: What CAN I put down it?? And what can I do now to kind of fix it? It's draining VERY slowly.

    And I suspect that the current disposal is a few decades old, so there is no instruction book that the seller left behind.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,017 Senior Member
    My advice is to replace it with a super duper one then you could put anything down it. When we had a house, I bought a very powerful one, my friend put it in for me. After that, I was able to put almost anything down it.
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,651 Senior Member
    We finally learned not to put potato peel down ours. Doesn't hurt the disposal - blocks the darn drains every time.
  • frazzled1frazzled1 Registered User Posts: 5,566 Senior Member
    Well, at least it's draining slowly - that's a good sign. What happens when you run it - does it seem to be processing, does it make the same sound it made initially, or won't it go on at all?

    I recommend not packing the thing and then turning it on. Instead, I send just a bit through at a time, while it's running. And no peels.
  • VeryHappyVeryHappy Registered User Posts: 16,781 Senior Member
    It seems to be processing, but the water is going down v e r y s l o w l y .

    We'll be redoing the kitchen shortly so I'm planning to buy the mother of all garbage disposals at that time. Any recommendations??
  • swimcatsmomswimcatsmom Registered User Posts: 15,651 Senior Member
    Could be that your drains are blocked and that is why it is draining slowly. We have done that several times. Do you have a plumbing snake thingy (attaches to an electric drill and you put it through the pipes to clear the blockage).
  • LergnomLergnom Registered User Posts: 7,926 Senior Member
    The most important thing is to run the thing for a while when you turn it on. If you pulse it on and off, as many people do, you create a ball of crud that blocks your drain. Run it with water for a minute. The disposal pushes water down the drain. Give it time to get the stuff all the way down. If you live in a house, you can see the drain pipe in your basement. You want that stuff flowing toward the street, so you want it to flow out of whatever little drain connects to your sink and into the larger drain in your basement. If you live in an apartment of some sort, your drain connects to a stack that runs somewhere up and down in the wall. You want to make sure the stuff gets into that stack or it will plug.

    The "power" of a disposal isn't that important unless you intend to dispose of a body.
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,514 Senior Member
    We have the largest Insinkerator they made when we built our house. It's a batch feed. I think it can handle most anything but I don't put certain things down it...including banana peels. Artichokes would be a no go but then we don't eat those!

    Ours can handle chicken bones, any kind of fruit pit or seeds, general "food debris", rinds, orange/ grapefruit peels, most veggie stuff. Peels from things like cucumbers, carrots, and even one or two potatoes...just not a five pound bag all at once, egg shells, the stuff you rinse off plates, any kind of bread product, egg shells, coffee grinds.

    I run the cold water for a minute or two AFTER I know the stuff is gone to flush the drain.

    The only time ours has clogged up was with a five pound bag of potatoes
    I was peeling, I never did that again!
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,017 Senior Member
    Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: InSinkErator Evolution Pro Excel 1 HP Garbage Disposer, Stainless Steel

    You want to get one with the highest HP. It is only $2-300. Builders tend to skim on this and that's why people have problem with their disposal - don't throw this and that down the disposal.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,017 Senior Member
    Use cold water when you are using the disposal. We used to throw lemon peels down every once in a while to keep it fresh.
  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys Registered User Posts: 15,344 Senior Member
    Ditto with Thumper and oldfort...my family 'broke' two garbage disposals in the course of a year and my wonderful appliance repair guy (not H who has a builder license and should know better) said he was bringing me an "industrial" Insinkerator (this was over 15 years ago) and it's going strong. There is not much I "can't" put in that thing. Agree about not pulsing and just letting it run for more than the minimal amount of time....also if it's jammed, blades not turning you can jimmy it with an Allen Wrench underneath the sink. If the blades are turning i vote for letting it run for awhile and see if you can clear the blockage.
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