Aug 15, 2017
A Summer Cookout Can Put the Heat on Your Kitchen Sink
Everyone loves summer: it’s blisteringly hot across Northern Virginia, the kids are running wild, your neighbors and in-laws are always dropping by and you’re constantly getting ready for, or assessing the damage from, the latest big get-together. Wait, maybe summer’s not so great after all!
Just kidding. Summer’s the best. A clogged drain in your kitchen, however, or an emergency garbage disposal repair, is not. It’s surprisingly easy to mess up the inner workings of your kitchen sink during the summer if you’re not careful. Utensils, food, garbage and other materials can cause serious damage if they end up making their way into your plumbing.
We’ve identified the some of the main culprits so you know what to look for when you’re cleaning up after your last big barbecue. Hey, we get it — as much as we love a good rack of spare ribs, you don’t want our 5-star technicians showing up to your party.
5 reasons why our customers may need garbage disposal repair:
- Pouring grease down the drain. Grease is the biggest culprit for a clogged drain. Although it seem like a fast and easy solution — I have this annoying leftover grease; I pour it down the drain, and no more grease! — you should never dump grease or excess fat into your sink. Grease cool, solidifies and plugs up the drain line, which in turn causes the garbage disposal to stop working. Instead of sending that grease down the sink, collect it using a bowl or small plastic bag. Once it hardens, simply toss it in the trash.
- Running the garbage disposal with hot water. Not everybody knows this: using hot water on a regular basis can lead to garbage disposal repair. Why? Let’s say you are pouring greasy or oily food into your drain (which, if you’ve read tip one, you know you should avoid). If you run hot water while disposing of that food, the fat and oils will stay soft, and then harden when they cool inside your drain.
If you’re eliminating a large amount of food, start by plugging the drain and filling the basin about one fourth of the way with cold water. Once it’s set, pull the plug and turn the disposal on. This practice should help keep the drain cool (which allows greasy foods to coagulate and get chopped to pieces by the garbage disposal) while clearing the drain of any existing garbage that may cause a clog.
- Forgetting about silverware. Oh, it’s the worst noise in the world — you click on your garbage disposal and it sounds like you’re running a Ford through a wood chipper. When you’re cooking out, throwing parties or doing a lot of extra food prep, it’s not uncommon to build up a big load of dishes — or for the stray spoon, knife or fork to sneak down the drain.
Once you realize an object is stuck in the garbage disposal, never reach in and grab it with your hands. If you know an item fell through the drain and you want to retrieve it yourself, the first thing you should do is turn off the disposal’s power source. Then, you should use a pair of tongs to fetch it. To avoid losing silverware to the garbage disposal altogether, you may want to consider using a drain guard.
- Throwing the wrong foods down the drain.
We expect a lot out of our garbage disposals, but some foods can leave you with a clogged drain. The average garbage disposal can’t handle hard, fibrous food, and starchy items tend to expand over time and cause blockages. Here are some common foods to avoid running through your garbage disposal at your next Warrenton barbecue unless you want to call a Warrenton plumbing expert:
- Watermelon rinds
- Rice or pasta
- Corn cobs
- Animal bones/crustacean shells
- Using improper cleaning products. Many consumer products intended for cleaning your garbage disposal are actually dangerous for the long-term health of your unit. Avoid cleaning solutions with harsh chemicals such as bleach or drain cleaners. These liquids could damage blades and pipes.
You can also try using your own mix of water and dish detergent or Borax to rid your drain of mold, mildew and other odor-causing bacteria. If you’re unsure the best way to clean your garbage disposal, check with your appliance manufacturer.
How do I know when I need a garbage disposal repair?
It can be difficult to identify if your garbage disposal is just being fidgety or if you’re dealing with a real problem. Notify a plumber immediately if you witness any of these big warning signs:
- Backed-up sink
- Motor hums without rotation
- Disposal doesn’t turn on when you flip the wall switch
- You hear loud metal clanking sounds.
A great way to avoid any of these outcomes is allowing cold water to run for 10 to 15 seconds after every use. This will help to wash it down and eliminate pipe residue and the accompanying odor.
What should you do if your garbage disposal is broken?
If you suspect an issue with your garbage disposal, don’t try to fix it yourself – give the Warrenton plumbing experts
a call right away. A damaged garbage disposal is a recipe for disaster. Broken blades, for one, are incredibly hazardous. When you add in exposed electrical wires and leaking water, you’re leaving a dangerous door open for accidental electrocution.
Broken garbage disposals also tend to cause leaks – which cause water damage and trigger mold. These leaks will attract rodents and other pests looking for water (leading to a whole other set of problems).
Don’t be a victim of summer plumbing issues