It is highly likely that you have a garburator installation done under your kitchen sink but you have no idea about how it affects your drains. If you have no idea what a garburator is then, this is an electrically powered device that is usually installed under a kitchen sink between the drain of the sink and the trap. It is also known as a garbage disposal unit, garbage disposal, a waste disposal unit or a garbage disposer. The garburator works by shredding food waste into pieces that are small enough, usually less than 2 millimeters so that they can easily pass through the plumbing. Many households have garburators because they are quite useful tools.
Garburators make the work in your kitchen much easier because it gets rid of excess kitchen scraps and consequently reducing the amount of trash.
There are different concepts to consider when it comes to a garburator installation and how it affects your drains.
Not everything is permissible. It is true that a garbage disposal unit shreds food waste into small particles which can easily pass through the drain. Nevertheless, this does not mean that you can put anything and everything down the drain. There are certain items that should definitely not be put into your drain even with a garbage disposal unit. These include:
- Metal objects even the small pieces can result in the wearing down of the blades or clog the pipes due to the obstructions. This is because metal is too solid for the blades to break down
- Paper products like paper towels, coffee filters and even tea bags
- Fibrous and stringy vegetables and fruits such as celery, corn husks, kale, broccoli stalks, banana peels etc. this is because the fibers from these foods can wrap around the blade and clog it or get stuck in the drain
- Starchy vegetables like potato peels get ground up in the garburator and turn into glue hence clogging the drain
- Pasta and rice because these expand once they get into contact with water and become sticky. As a result, they become difficult to go down the drain
- Grease and fat such as butter, cooking oils and any other kind of oil because once thy cool, they solidify and clog the drain. Furthermore, they leave a residue on the garburator thus decreasing its effectiveness
- Fruit pits and seeds are usually too hard for the machine to chop and will eventually lead to the damage of the garbage disposal unit
- Bones and shellfish are often difficult to grind because they are too hard for the machine. Straining the machine could cause blade breakage or a motor burn out
- Egg shells have a thin membrane inside the shell which can wrap itself around the blade. Besides that, egg shells are grounded into the consistency of sand which clogs the drains
- Coffee grounds get stuck in the trap of the disposal unit
- Meat because it can cause rot and bring about an unpleasant odor
- Anything that should naturally not do down the drain like kid toys, fabrics, sponges, rags and any other thing that would wrap itself around the blade and cause it to be ineffective.
Garbage disposal units definitely make life easier for your drains but they do not allow you to be reckless in how you use your drains. A garburator is not a trash bag for you to throw in everything and anything.
Garbage disposal units can cause your drains to smell
As mentioned earlier on, garburators shred food bits into finer particles that can be easily passed out through the drain. Without properly cleaning the machine, you will notice an odor emanating from your drain. This is especially the case when you put down foods that easily clog the machine. For example, if you put potato peels down the drain, they will be ground into a glue substance which will stick to the machine. Besides making the machine ineffective, the new substance will start to give off an awful smell because it is stuck on the unit. A garburator must be properly cleaned so that it does not cause your drain to have a bad smell.
Drains cannot be cleaned with chemicals if they have a garburator
Once you have installed a garburator in your kitchen sink, you no longer have the freedom of pouring bleach or drain cleaner down your drain. This includes any chemical enzyme cleaners like copper sulfate. Such chemicals are harsh to the machine and to the plumbing system as well. Instead, use drain cleaning services to clean the garburator in case you notice a water back or that your drains are working slower. With drain cleaning services, you will be able to restore the functioning of your drain without having to damage your garburator with harsh chemicals.
If not, you can use alternative home cleaning methods such as:
- Ice and salt which help to loosen oil and grime from the garbage disposal unit
- Baking soda and vinegar
- Flushing where you place a stopper in the sink drain and fill the sink with water and dish soap. Afterwards, you can remove the stopper and turn on the garbage disposal so that you can flush your unit.
You cannot put your hand down the drain
When our drains become slow or clog, we often find ourselves placing our hands down the drain to get rid of the substances that are causing the blockage. Unfortunately, this practice should not be carried over when using a garbage disposal unit. When you realize you have dropped something that should not be present in your machine like a spoon, you cannot place your hand down your drain to retrieve it. You may end up grinding your hand. The disposal unit must first be turned off before any retrieval occurs.
Garburators are excellent machines. They make life easier. However, when they are improperly installed, they can bring about problems like leakages, clogs and foul odors when they are not properly draining. In such situations, call for drain cleaning services to remedy the situation.