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How to Unclog a Clogged Garbage Disposal

You know that sinking feeling when you turn on your garbage disposal and it grinds to a halt before grinding nothing at all?

While most of us have been taught to go toilet-diving to retrieve a toy or ring that fell down the drain, we probably were never told what to do when we experienced a clogged garbage disposal. While it might seem like an impossible problem to fix yourself, it’s quite simple!

Even if you’re a plumbing novice, there are a few fixes you can try. For a quick, simple guide on how to unclog a garbage disposal, just keep on reading.

Exploring the Possible Causes of a Clogged Garbage Disposal

One common cause for the blockage is food that has been put down the garbage disposal over time and eventually collected within the waste pipes. Food items such as eggshells, vegetable peels, and coffee grounds, can combine and form a cover over the drain, leading to clogging. Additionally, hair, soap scum, and other debris can also accumulate in the pipes and cause blockages.

If any of these materials are not broken down properly by the garbage disposal, they can form clumps that clog the pipes. In some cases, larger items such as cutlery can also cause a clog if they are left in the drain and not disposed of properly. It is important to routinely clean the disposal and avoid putting any items that are too large into it.

Tools Needed for Unclogging Your Garbage Disposal

Before attempting to unclog your garbage disposal, it is important to identify the tools that you will need to do the job. Start by gathering a plumber’s wrench, an old rag, tongs, a flashlight, and a pair of rubber gloves. With these tools, you will be ready to unclog the garbage disposal.

To begin, place the rag over the disposal opening and plug it in. The rag will serve as a shield against any debris that may fly out during the unclogging process.

With the flashlight, inspect the interior of the garbage disposal for any debris that appears to be blocking the blades. When you have located the obstruction, you can use the plumber’s wrench, tongs, and gloves to retrieve the debris.

Tips on How to Easily Unclog Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposal clogging is a common problem that can be easily resolved with some simple steps.

To unclog your garbage disposals, here are a few easy steps you can take:

Check the Breaker Box

More often than not, if the garbage disposal is unresponsive or is not working, it could be a power issue. Checking the breaker box is a necessary step to ensure that the garbage disposal is receiving electricity. The breaker box may be located outside the home or in the garage or basement.

Once located, check if a switch is flipped or if there are any trips or other power issues. Another solution may be to reset the breakers from “off” to “on” or to reset a tripped breaker. This could be a simple fix to an otherwise inconvenient issue.

Use a Handheld Power Drill

This method requires the user to secure a drill bit adapted to the shape of the clogged material in the garbage disposal with a connection, usually a hex nut. Then, the user should insert the drill bit into the clog and slowly turn it in a clockwise motion until the material is loosened. For bigger clogs, the user should insert a small amount of liquid soap or some baking soda into the disposal beforehand.

Employing a Drain Snake

Begin by locating the snake, which is found at any home improvement or plumbing store. If a clog is present, the snake should be inserted into the sink drain until you feel its head inside the drain system. Once it is in the right place, turn the handle and push into the clog.

Continue turning the snake’s handle and pushing it in until you feel it can no longer be pushed further. Then, rotate it back and forth to break up the clog. When the clog is broken up, remove the snake from the sink drain and remove the debris.

Use Boiling Water

To do this safely, fill a pot with boiling water and carefully pour it down the sink where the garbage disposal is located. The force of the water will push the debris down, allowing it to travel through the pipes and out of the disposal. This can be done periodically as it will help to rinse off any build-up and keep the garbage disposal running smoothly.

Contact a Professional

The best option for unclogging garbage disposal in Austin is to contact local Austin plumbers. A professional plumber is trained to diagnose and fix clogged disposals. They also have the tools and knowledge to quickly and safely unclog the disposal.

Professional plumbing services can usually be scheduled quickly and often run promotions or discounts. The plumber can also check that the disposers, pipes, and electrical lines are all working properly, to prevent future clogs or faulty equipment.

Cleaning Tips to Keep Your Garbage Disposal Running Smoothly

First, only small food particles should be put at the disposal. Do not put large items or non-food items such as metal, plastic, or glass, as these can clog the disposal. Second, running cold water before, during, and after running the disposal can help liquefy the items and wash away any particles that can become stuck.

Third, regularly grinding citrus peels, eggshells, and ice helps keep the blades sharp and free of build-up. Finally, running a half cup of baking soda with a few tablespoons of vinegar down the disposal a few times a month helps reduce odors and clean out any internal buildup.

Prevent Clogged Garbage Disposal in the Future

Unclogging clogged garbage disposal is easy with the right tools and techniques. To ensure it doesn’t become clogged again, run hot water through it regularly and immediately after using it.

Regular maintenance, such as cleaning and sharpening blades, will also help to keep the disposal in good working condition. For help with garbage disposal problems, contact an experienced plumber.

For more tips and advice on housekeeping and home improvement, browse through the rest of our website.

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