Kitchen appliances can be complicated. With tons of different functions and settings to mess with in order to get the ideal function, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to struggle to figure some of them out. So, naturally, a garbage disposal should be remarkably simple, right? How complicated can an appliance with only one function, and a simple on-off switch be? Well, far more complicated than many homeowners might think. This is because most homeowners are unaware that they might be damaging or hindering their garbage disposal thanks to several “myths” which have pervaded general knowledge.
On this blog, we’ll take a look at five of these myths and explain the truth behind them.
#1 – Garbage Disposals Need to Be Sharpened Periodically
When you ask people what a garbage disposal is, they’ll probably tell you it’s a device that uses spinning blades to chop up food and other stuff you put down the drain in order to carry it away through your sewer lines. Well, this is only half true: while there are spinning parts in a garbage disposal, they aren’t blades. In fact, garbage disposals don’t have blades at all, but rather grinding teeth that spin opposite directions to quickly smash up material put down the drain. Believe it or not, putting solid foods down the drain not only doesn’t sharpen these teeth, but it actually can wear them out sooner and shorten the lifespan of your disposal as a whole.
#2 – Smelly Disposal? Use a Lemon!
It’s true that over time putting various foods down your drain can lead to foul odors and smells coming back up from the drain itself. When this is the case, common knowledge says to slice up half of a lemon into small chunks and then grind them up in your disposal. While this can and does eliminate bad smells for a time, it’s not exactly the best solution. The acidity from the lemon juice can actually cause corrosion that eats away at the metal in your disposal’s teeth, thus creating a situation where you’re actually shortening your disposal’s life!
#3 – Use Hot Water At All Times
For many people, this myth comes from the idea that if you put grease, fats, or other potentially hazardous substances down your drain, using hot water can keep it in liquid form long enough for it to reach your sewers. This isn’t always the case, and in fact it’s actually better to use cold water when grinding up fatty foods than it is to use hot. Cold water keeps the foods in solid form, allowing them to be crushed into tiny pieces more effectively, which also prevents them from sticking and adhering to the sides of your plumbing lines.
#4 – A Clear Drain Isn’t Clogged
Just because the water flows down the drain and doesn’t back up doesn’t mean your garbage disposal is in good health and free from clogs. In fact, a clog could be forming not far behind it that could lead to trouble. What’s worse is that with a garbage disposal, it can be even harder to tell that your drain is clogging up until it’s too late, and snaking a garbage disposal drain can be even tougher because you’ll have to completely disconnect the line to do so. It’s much better to clear a drain line now while the repair is simple rather than waiting for it to clog up completely where it can damage your home.
#5 – Ice & Eggshells Don’t Hurt Your Disposal
This is somewhat related to the first myth on the list in that many people think these solid foods are good for your disposal by sharpening your blades. Well not only is this a myth in that you don’t actually have blades in your disposal, but they actually can damage the teeth you do have by causing them to chip or dent. While it’s highly unlikely that these foods will cause your blades to jam up because of the torque in the electric motor that powers them, you could jam up your drain line itself. Eggshells in particular have been known to get caught on the sides of drain pipes or already-forming clogs, becoming huge causes of clogs.
Having an issue with your garbage disposal? The Bartlett Plumbers at Smith’s Plumbing Services can help you resolve the issue! Call us today at (901) 290-1110 to request your service.