Plumber: Never put these things down garbage disposal

By Terry Leamon, my Maricopa plumber

A few common things can cause backup drain. Here are a few tips on things you should NEVER throw away as a garbage disposer:

1. Coffee grounds. When you have finished your morning coffee and cleaned the filter – STOP! – do not pour the coffee grounds into the rubbish bin. Although they appear finely ground, they are dense and pasty and end up in a lot of gunk in your sediment trap.

2. Pasta, rice and bread. All these starches absorb water and expand. In general, keep out of the bin, but don’t be stressed if a small amount goes down the drain. Let the cold water run for 30 seconds to flush your pipes before the food can expand.

3. Animal bones. Waste disposal is not intended to shred hard objects. Over time, bones will gradually destroy the device.

4. Kernels and seeds, nuts and shells. Like bones, these foods are hard and can damage your waste. General rule: if something can’t be cut with a knife, it probably isn’t safe to dispose of your waste.

5. Onions. These can easily go down the drain, but they can get into the siphon and act as a net and catch things before they go down the drain.

6. Eggshells. If you have heard eggshells sharpen the knives of the garbage disposer. MIS! That is a common misconception. Garbage disposal has no knives. They have fans, which are blunt, which grind food, not chop it. Eggshells also have membranes that can snag around the grinders and cause problems over time.

7. Fruits and starchy vegetables. Some have fibrous strands that can get caught and tangled around the grinder. Starch can build up overtime and turn into slices, clogging parts; for example potatoes.

8. Fat, oil and fat. These go back down easily, but become a big factor when a kitchen drain needs to be emptied. In liquid form, oils and fats seem to pass down the drain easily, but they solidify and can cause major blockages.

Never treat your waste disposal as a trash can and throw away food or non-food items. It will slowly damage and shorten the life of your garbage disposal. It can also lead to leaks and water damage. Keeping these things out of your trash can save money and headaches under the sink.
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