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.
Look for a jam. Something too tough to grind, such as a piece of glass, could be jamming the motor. Turn off the power and water, then unplug the disposal. (If it’s hardwired, turn off the breaker.) Remove the rubber baffle inside the drain-most just lift out-and shine a flashlight into the hole. Fish out the obstruction with a pair of tongs or needle-nose pliers.
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A clogged garbage disposal unit can leak when you try to operate it without removing the clogging. What clogs up garbage disposals? Normally this would be expandable food like rice and pasta. Even large animal bones can also result in clogging and possible leak. Although coffee grounds help eliminate odors, allowing it to accumulate in the drain of the disposer will result in clogging and potential leak.
Inspect each of these locations while gliding a light-colored rag over the unit; the dyed water will readily show on the rag and reveal the location of the leak. If a leak isn’t immediately apparent, remove the sink stopper and pour a few more cups of dyed water down the sink drain, then check for leaks again. Leaks near the top of the unit are more likely to show themselves while the sink is plugged, while side and bottom leaks are more noticeable while the sink is unplugged.
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.
Reason Why It May Leak: When the rubber gasket gets old it can develop a leak. Long periods of disuse when there is no water in the drain and garbage disposal can cause the gasket to dry up and leak. If you remove an older garbage disposer for any reason and then put it back it may require a new rubber gasket to get a watertight seal again. Also, if the gasket is not locked evenly on all three sides then it will leak.
If the garbage disposal won’t turn on, then it’s probably not getting power. First, make sure it’s plugged in. It’s easy to forget that disposals have wall outlets. It’s easy to knock a plug out of an outlet accidentally, especially in a dark place like under the sink. If the disposal is plugged in, check the reset button on the bottom of the disposal unit. If the disposal requires resetting, the button will be popped out. Simply press it and try the disposal again.
We’re starting with clogs because they’re actually only *kind of* garbage disposal problems. Technically, garbage disposals can get jammed (see below!), but if water stands in your sink and takes forever to drain, it’s probably because the kitchen sink pipe has been clogged. Many different materials can cause clogs, from sediment, to scale, to grease, to food remains. Depending on the culprit, clogs may begin to smell. Ideally, your garbage disposal should have ground up debris enough that it wouldn’t clog anything up, but nobody’s perfect.
The majority of today’s garbage disposals are designed to dovetail with a sink’s drain outlet, which makes connecting the two components simple. There are a multitude of connection kits and adaptors available. Many models feature a power cord that is simply plugged into a nearby outlet to power the unit; however, when an outlet is not available, the unit must be hardwired, which can be significantly more expensive.
• Run water before and after you use the disposal If something has been put in the disposal that should not have been, use tongs or pliers to pull the material out. Never use your hand. To clean a garbage disposal of built-up sludge and debris, fill it with ice cubes and a cup of rock salt and then run it for about five seconds. If your garbage disposal smells bad, you can deodorize it by running warm water down it while you grind a quartered lemon.
The mounting bracket for your new garbage disposer assembles by inserting the fiber gasket, back-up flange and mounting ring over the sink flange, in that order. Be sure to hold these three pieces in place while you insert the snap ring over the flange. It’s called a snap ring because you’ll hear it snap in place. Then firmly tighten the three mounting screws against the backup flange, being careful to tighten them evenly.
Most garbage disposals are sealed using plumber’s putty. You’ll need to detach the garbage disposal, clean off the old putty and reseal. Other types of disposals use only a flange that is tightened and compressed with screws. This may need to be replaced. Either way, this can be a big job if you don’t know what you’re doing (requires removing and replacing drain pipes, as well).
Hang the disposal by aligning the three mounting tabs with the slide-up ramps on the mounting ring. Holding the disposal in place, turn the lower mounting ring until all three tabs are locked into the mounting assembly. The disposal will now hang by itself. Tighten the three mounting screws, ultimately tightening each screw a few turns at a time until the mounting assembly is evenly and tightly seated against the bottom of the sink.
At one point, I did have a leak that I eventually determined was due to improper installation. (This was by the same "professional" plumber who reversed the hot and cold supply lines when installing a kitchen faucet. He just didn't connect the drain hose properly.) While investigating the issue, I called Waste King to inquire about possible in-home service or warranty replacement. I was blown away by their level of customer service: no waiting on hold, just an immediate connection to a person who really knew the product and was unexpectedly diligent in resolving my problem -- which, as it turns out, wasn't even their fault.
Disposals can leak at a couple different places. Start by turning off the disposal at its base. Then, find the disposal mount and remove the unit by turning it counterclockwise from the bottom. Once the disposal has been removed from the mount, you should be able to see the three mounting bolts. Tighten these bolts to make sure they’re not leaking.
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The InSinkErator Badger 5 food waste disposal includes an exclusive, 'We Come to You' 2-Year In-Home Limited Warranty. This warranty includes free house calls (parts and labor) fulfilled through a network of 1500 professional service agents who are trained and certified to install, repair or replace InSinkErator disposers. Call our toll-free service line and we’ll provide you with the name and phone number of a factory authorized service agent nearest you.
If you’re unsuccessful using the wrench, you may need to go in through the drain in an attempt to remove the clog. Disconnect the power to the disposal by unplugging the unit or turning off its circuit breaker, then use long-handled tongs and a flashlight to try to remove the jam. Never use your hands for this task, even if the disposal is completely disconnected from its power source! Fumbling blindly around a disc of sharp blades is asking for injury.
Badger food waste disposers are a reliable and Badger food waste disposers are a reliable and functional choice when affordability is the prime concern. Badger 5XP features a 3/4 horsepower heavy-duty quiet Dura-Drive induction motor rugged galvanized steel construction for disposer durability and a space-saving compact design. To top it off Badger 5XP offers a 3-year We Come ... More + Product Details Close