A: A leaking garbage disposal often goes unnoticed until you confront a sopping cabinet, a foul-smelling puddle, or an audible drip-drip-drip from the unit. The fix can be frustrating, too, because the leak can stem from a number of components in the system. Fortunately, with a little sleuthing, you can zero in on the leak and—depending on the exact location—stop the icky oozing and repair the component that caused it. Worst case scenario, if it turns out that the garbage disposal must be replaced, installing a new one is a reasonable do-it-yourself task for those with basic plumbing skills. Read on to keep the cash you’d otherwise hand over to a pro.
Knowing the difference between what can go down the disposal and what should go into the trash can save you an emergency call to the plumber. This is especially pertinent during the holidays when the kitchen is filled with people and the sink with dirty dishes. Practice these three everyday maintenance tips to help you maximize the lifespan of your garbage disposal.
I was disappointed with the pressure of a tub and shower that were plumbed with 1/2 supply lines (2nd floor). Could be low pressure from the street, but I want to replace with 5/8. Plus, I'd like to have 2 back to back showers, one inside and one outside. So, I had intended to bring a 1 supply to both, then branch up to valves and shower head with 5/8. Finally, I thought pressure from the street was typically 55 to 70 psi and I am concerned if pvc can take that.Any thoughts?
2. Can my septic tank handle the load? Septic tanks are essential in the general installation and use of garbage disposals. If your home is hooked up to a septic tank, then the municipality that you live in may require you to upgrade your septic tank system if you decide to install a garbage disposal. A local building inspector will be able to tell you if you’ll need too. Also, you must take into account that you will be required to empty your septic tank more often.
As it's a direct replacement, I didn't even bother to go through the hassle or removing the old sink flange and having to putty in a new one as the existing one was just fine. It took me about 5 minutes to replace old with new - that's why I didn't bother with a different make. I'm an average Joe who does a few things around the house - mostly accompanied by a lot of cussing - so anything that makes such work quick and simple results in less swearing - which is a good thing right?!
Proper use of a garbage disposal can stave off future leaks. So remember to grind only soft foods; hard items such as bones, apple cores, or raw potatoes can dislodge or damage the internal seals. Run cold water through the sink drain before and after food disposal to keep solid fats from congealing into gunk (which can deteriorate the sink flange and cause leaks). Finally, inspect your disposal for leaks—at least twice a year using the dyed-water test—to catch and repair minor leaks before they lead to water-damaged sink cabinets or kitchen floors.
Kitchen waste disposal units increase the load of organic carbon that reaches the water treatment plant, which in turn increases the consumption of oxygen. Metcalf and Eddy quantified this impact as 0.04 pound of biochemical oxygen demand per person per day where disposers are used. An Australian study that compared in-sink food processing to composting alternatives via a life cycle assessment found that while the in-sink disposer performed well with respect to climate change, acidification, and energy usage, it did contribute to eutrophication and toxicity potentials.
However, homeowners are often cautioned against using caustic drain cleaners. Some professional plumber believe that it will not always remove clogs and may even be quite harmful. The caustic nature of this and similar products should be a cause for concern because aside from not really needing it, the ingredients known as lye or caustic soda can result in severe burns and may cause damage to the pipes.
3. Is my plumbing capable of handling the task? If your current plumbing frequently clogs or backs up, then you should NOT install a new garbage disposer. The additional waste that a garbage disposal creates will only increase the chances of one or both happening. Before installing a waste disposer, you’ll need to have the source of the problem identified and fixed.
Physically remove lodged objects. If a large object has become lodged in your garbage disposal, you will need to remove it before proceeding with the cleaning process. First, it is important that you turn off the fuse that supplies power to the disposal unit. This is to ensure that it does not turn on during cleaning. Alternatively, you may be able to unplug it from under the sink, depending on the design.