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How to Break Your Garbage Disposal

sink-drain-with-strainer-in-it“Wait, you want me to do what?”

No, we do not want you to actually break your garbage disposal. Yet, if you unintentionally do any of the things we’re about to talk about, then you might very well be calling us for professional Glenview, IL garbage disposal repairs. We’re happy to help! But, we’d like to help you prevent major problems like this if at all possible. We’re pretty sure you’d like that too.

How a Garbage Disposal Works

Before we get into the items that will definitely break your garbage disposal, we want to cover how a garbage disposal actually works.

There’s a common misconception that when it runs, sharp blades work to “chop up” anything that goes down it, similar to a blender (on that note, even a blender has its limitations!) This isn’t true, however.

Your garbage disposal system does have “blades,” if that’s what you want to call them. But what they actually are comprised of is grinder plates. These plates rely on strong centrifugal force to grind down food waste. Then, the waste is flushed down the drain, and the flow of water helps keep the waste moving all the way down the drain.

These Items Will Break Your Disposal

So, since the impeller blades of your garbage disposal aren’t as strong as one might hope, what are the items that could actually break or damage your disposal?

  • Anything Hard: We’re talking bones and fruit pits, mainly. There are some newer garbage disposal systems on the market today that advertise they can handle these items, but in most cases, you’re really going to be better off disposing of these in the trash.
  • Fibrous Food Waste: This includes food items like corn husks or celery stalks. These items can get wrapped up in the moving parts of your garbage disposal system, and then the disposal can accumulate damage as it tries to continue operating.
  • Potato Skins and Eggshells: Putting one or two of these down the garbage disposal at a time probably won’t hurt your garbage disposal. But too much of it is more than the garbage disposal can handle. Like with fibrous food waste, the centrifugal motion of the grinder plates will be halted, though your disposal will try to continue to run.

These Items Will Clog Your Drain

You might have seen in some other articles that you should avoid also putting pasta, rice, FOG (fats, oils and grease) and coffee grounds down your garbage disposal. This is inaccurate, but we understand the misconception.

You should actually avoid putting these items down your kitchen sink drain regardless of whether or not you have a garbage disposal!

The problem with pasta, rice, and coffee grounds is that they all expand with water. So if you put them down the drain, eventually the water absorption will cause them to expand and you can end up with a serious clog. FOG (fats, oils, and grease) from cooking congeals as it cools down, becoming hard and sticky. Think about what that does to the lining of your pipes. Soon enough, there will be enough buildup from FOG that a clog will occur, and you’ll need to call for professional drain cleaning (store-bought drain cleaners can do more harm than good!)

Please reach out to our team if you have any questions about what you’ve read here. We’re happy to help with all of your plumbing needs.

For expert plumbing service, installations, or maintenance contact Reliance Plumbing Sewer & Drainage, Inc. Our knowledgeable plumbers serve the North Shore and Northwest Chicago suburbs. Rely on Reliance!

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