The Limits Of An In-Sink Disposal Unit

If you have a kitchen in your home, and we know most of you do, it’s a good bet that you probably have an in-sink disposal unit installed to take care of food waste that gets washed down the drain while you’re washing the dishes. However, in spite of their saturation across this country, as Markham plumbers we have come to notice that many of our fellow citizens have the wrong impression when it comes to what these machines should and shouldn’t be used for.

Far too often Canadians in the Greater Toronto Area end up calling us or our fellow Markham plumbers to come out and perform services that could easily be prevented by proper disposal usage. Thankfully, these errors are seldom serious and amount to an annoyance and wasted money much more often than severely damaging the plumbing system and the owner’s wallet. So, here are some common issues that we see and a few tips to help you avoid having to make that embarrassing call to us.

NEVER run your disposal without cold water running – we’re starting with this one as it is one of the rare instances that can cause serious damage and therefore the most important. The disposal depends on that flow of water to both assist in clearing the shredded waste from the blades as well as cooling all of the bearings and other moving parts. When it comes to any kind of moving parts, heat will always be the enemy of a long lifetime and repeated abuse can lead to failure of the unit.

The disposal unit is not a trashcan – This is probably the most common disposal related issue that we get called out on and therefore a good runner up for the top spot in importance. The good news is that this mistake rarely results in serious damage and can generally be fixed quickly and easily by one of our professional Markham plumbers. We have seen all sorts of things shoved down these units and that is simply not what they’re designed for. These units are designed to grind up the small scraps of food leftover on your plate after your done eating, not for grinding up bones, wrappers or other non-food items. Also, avoid washing pasta into the units. The pasta won’t jam the grinder like the previously mentioned items will, but even ground up into small pieces, the pasta can collect in the p-trap and expand to the point where it completely blocks the drain.

Use ice to sharpen the unit – This sounds like an old wives’ tale, but believe us, it really does work. Simply take a few ice cubes once every couple of months and drop them into the unit with the water running and let it bust them up until they’re gone. Keeping the blades sharp means that the pieces that make their way into the drain will be smaller and thereby less likely to cause a blockage.

If you follow these three simple rules and apply a little bit of common sense in between, your disposal unit can last for a decade or more with ease. Not only does that save you from having to call us because of an incident that could have been easily avoided, it also saves you money by keeping wear and tear to a minimum and prolonging the life of your unit.