Tips to Keep Your Garbage Disposals Running Effectively

It’ is probably the one appliance most people don’t think about, until its too late.

Angie Hicks, of consumer group Angie’s List, says “Your garbage disposal is one of the most used appliances in the kitchen, and one of the most abused. If you’re not taking proper care of it, you’re shortening its useful life which can be very costly.”

Angie’s List tips for for keep your garbage disposals running efficiently:

· Use disposal properly: Turn the cold water on, let it run for 10-15 seconds, turn the disposal on, start to feed the unit bits at a time until all the food is gone and let the water run for another 30 seconds to clear it all out and get it all down the drain.
· Do not overload: Cut large food items into small pieces and put them into the garbage disposal slowly one at a time.
· Use cold water: Grind food with cold water. Hot water can melt fat, which can clog your pipes.
· Avoid certain items: The disposal is meant for food only – avoid glass, rubber and bones. Avoid stringy vegetables such as celery. Celery doesn’t get chopped up in the disposal. Instead the strings wrap around the blades and can eventually stop them from working.
· Garbage disposals running frequently: If you don’t run the disposal for several days, or weeks, the blades will rust and corrode.
· Keep it clean: Toss several pieces of ice down the disposal to help sharpen the blade and add a few pieces of cut up lemon to help remove odors.
· Simple remedies: If your disposal won’t turn on, try to reset it. Most models come with a reset button on the bottom of the garbage disposal, underneath your sink. For a disposal that is jammed, some models have tool for you to crank yourself. The tool goes into the bottom of the unit and you can turn the inside part that actually spins. Never put your hands in the drain. If you are still having issues with garbage disposals running effectively, consult with a plumber.

Angie’s List says garbage disposals run between $50-$250. If you plan on living in your home for a while, they suggest investing in a higher end model. But, Angie’s List does recommend hiring a professional to put the disposal in for you.

Angie’s List tips for hiring a plumber:

· Licensed & insured? If required in your state, check to make sure a plumber’s license is current and check if there are any complaints against the license. Any plumber you hire should have a minimum of $500,000 liability insurance and a current workers’ compensation policy.
· Ask about rates: Plumbers either charge by the hour or job. For basic plumbing services, such as leak repair – expect pay at least $50 per hour for a service call, then at least $60 each additional hour. Some highly rated companies said they charged as much as $100 per hour. For weekend or after hour calls, expect to pay time and a half.
· Spell out the project in the contract: The quote should provide a written estimate that includes payment terms, a materials list and any additional agreements related to the project.
· You got a permit for that? Are there certain permits required to do the work? If so, check with your plumber that he/she will obtain these permits.
· Plumbing service contracts: Some plumbers offer service agreements that offer an annual inspection into your home’s plumbing – including checking the garbage disposals.
· Once you find a good plumber, keep him/her: In an emergency, it’s better to call someone who already knows you. Once you find a plumber you are satisfied with, keep his/her number handy

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