This Thanksgiving, prevent a holiday disaster by keeping your garbage disposal clean and clear! As professional plumbers, we often receive emergency plumbing calls on and around holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s due to clogged drains and broken garbage disposals.
That’s why we’re here to help you avoid a Thanksgiving dinner disaster with our tips on garbage disposal repair and clogged drain solutions. Don’t add more holiday stress, call the pros and we’ll Rescue your holiday in less time than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (773) 799-8848!
Avoid Food Waste Clogs!
The best way to prevent a clogged drain is to protect your pipes from excess food waste. Drains take care of wastewater so it’s impossible to have clean drains. But it is best to prevent adding excess material down the drain pipe.
While preparing your Thanksgiving meal, it’s tempting to throw peels, egg shells, and other debris into the sink drain opening. However, these materials can cause serious problems for your garbage disposal and pipes!
A garbage disposal will struggle to grind food waste like grease, fat, coffee grounds, peels, and egg shells. No matter how easy it seems to grind up, the debris can clog the pipe or stall the motor.
Garbage disposals are designed for grinding food waste, but it’s also important to remember that whatever you send down the drain pipe also needs to flush out.
Things like turkey bones, excessive grease, and large pieces of food like potato skins from making mashed potatoes are challenges that will lead to a garbage disposal clog.
How to Unjam Your Jammed Garbage Disposal
Even with the best intentions, garbage disposal clogs can happen. There can be a lot of causes for a jammed disposal unit.
If your garbage disposal is stuck but you notice a humming sound and the power is on, then it’s most likely a jammed impeller.
Note: Never reach your hand into a garbage disposal. The blades are very sharp and may turn without notice. If you need to do work on a garbage disposal, first, unplug the unit from electricity and use the proper tools.
Use a flashlight to see any debris in the chamber, then use a tool like a plumber’s snake to retrieve the jammed material. After you remove the debris, test the blades. You can insert an Allen wrench on the bottom of the chamber to manually spin the blades.
Once they are spinning freely, you can turn the garbage disposal back on!
DIY Unclogging Methods for Your Sink Drain
There are many alternative methods to freeing a clogged drain. Here are some tips and tricks from our expert plumbers!
Chemical vs. Natural Drain Cleaner
There are a lot of products on the shelf that promise clear drains. From natural drain cleaners to chemical clog removers, it’s best to be cautious while using this method.
Chemical drain cleaners have caustic chemicals that can damage pipes, drains, and your garbage disposal.
These toxic chemicals will often do more harm than good! Our expert plumbers recommend using different methods to remove a clog.
The Plunger Solution
Plungers are one of the most basic tools that you can use to fix sink or kitchen drain clogs.
Whether it’s your sink clog, a bathtub drain clog, a shower, or tub clog, it helps to have plungers on hand in case something goes wrong!
To loosen a sink clog, simply place the plunger over the sink drain creating a tight seal, then run water into the sink to create suction pressure. Finally, start plunging!
Note: if you have a double-sided kitchen sink, make sure you plug the drain opening on the side you are not plunging.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
While there are a lot of clogging solutions out there, a vinegar and baking soda mixture is one that can be used with ease. Since baking soda and vinegar are often found in the home, you can easily create this solution.
Mixing baking soda with vinegar will cause a chemical reaction. The vinegar helps to activate the baking soda, and the mixture fizzes and loosens any debris in the drain.
Afterward, pour boiling water down the pipe to wash away any remaining material.
Baking soda and vinegar are a great first step to remove a clog, however, if there’s a large blockage it may not work, luckily there are other methods to try!
Boiling water is an effective clogged drain repair method when a clogged bathroom or kitchen sink aren’t draining properly. Dish soap and grease can build up over time and hot water can help flush it away as needed.
If you slowly pour boiling water to clear out the garbage disposal, it can burn off any soap scum or grime left behind. Hot water can also help with cleaning and draining your sink, but it should be used with caution as well as there is a risk of burns.
Boiling water is the simplest drain cleaner out there!
Troubleshooting Your Garbage Disposal
A garbage disposal repair could require a lot of different things. A disposal unit can have complex and issues like electrical problems, clogs, and leaks. An experienced plumber can help diagnose and fix your garbage disposal!
If your garbage disposal suddenly stops working, it may be caused by an electrical problem.
Check to see if you have a blown fuse or need to reset your circuit breaker. If you turn on your garbage disposal and don’t hear a humming sound, your circuit breaker may have shut off.
Try the Reset Button
Garbage disposals should have a reset button that will allow you to restart its circuit connection and might enable it to turn back on.
Turn the Flywheel Turning Hole
If the electric components are working, it could be a physical issue. Under the garbage disposal, there is a flywheel turning hole. You can insert an Allen wrench and manually turn the flywheel clockwise and counterclockwise to see if it will turn.
This could free the stuck impeller and get it spinning again properly. Once it is spinning easily, try turning your garbage disposal on! This could save your Thanksgiving holiday in seconds!
Leaking Garbage Disposal
Under the kitchen sink, your garbage disposal may be leaking. Look at the disposal unit and the sink trap for any dripping water.
With paper towels and a bucket on hand, run the tap water to test for any leaks. A garbage disposal may leak from the mounting flange, and even the mounting bolts holding the unit to the sink drain opening.
If the leak is coming from the disposal unit itself, it may mean that it is corroded and needs to be replaced. Our professional plumbers always arrive with a fully-stocked plumbing van ready to tackle any problem the same day!
Frequently Asked Garbage Disposal Questions
You have questions. The Rescue Team has answers!
Let Us Save Your Thanksgiving!
Don’t let your Thanksgiving get disrupted! Follow these tips for a stress-free holiday. If your garbage disposal does clog, call Rescue Plumbing at (773) 799-8848! We’ll get everything back up and running before dessert is served!