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Having a garbage disposal in your home can be a very convenient addition to your kitchen or it could seem like a black hole for small valuable items like earrings, bracelets or -- the worst -- your wedding ring.

Fortunately for you, there are plenty of resources available to maximize your de-clogging efforts. Whether you’re looking to save a couple bucks by exploring DIY options or want the safety net of hiring a professional to clear out your garbage disposal, odds are your disposal will probably be back in working order in no time.

Should you have any problems or doubt with your garbage disposal, be sure to contact a well-qualifed plumber.

Identify the Clog

You can’t offer a solution if you don’t know what the problem is, right? Take a flashlight to look into the garbage disposal and see if you can identify what the blockage is. Since all clogs are not the same, understanding the blockage will determine the method you take to fix it. If it’s food that has been accumulated over time, then this should be a relatively quick fix. The clog is likely due to having excess food and nearly not enough water. Run some water down the drain to push the food down the disposal.

If you notice that the clog is an object and NOT food, then refrain from running water in order to flush it down.

Take Precautions

No matter what’s in your drain, DO NOT place your fingers or hands into the disposal. It would be one thing to lose a piece of jewelry, but it would be a completely different loss if you were to cut off a finger trying to retrieve it.

Before you attempt to recover or permanently dispose your clog, turn off the switch in your breaker box that leads to the garbage disposal.

Also, don’t use drain cleaning liquids in the garbage disposal. This liquids are for drains and applying them to the garbage disposal could cause costly damage to some of the non-metal moving parts.

Removing the Debris

If you see what needs to be taken out, you can use a pair of pliers (preferably with a long handle) to collect the debris. If you feel confident that you got the right piece out, give your disposal’s motor time to recover (about 15-20 minutes). As it was working hard to cut through the mess, it could be overheated and requires a break before running again.

Test the garbage disposal again with ample amounts of cold water running. If it doesn’t run normally, then try using the end of a long wooden spoon (not metal) to go between the blades. Jiggle the wooden spoon until the blades move freely. (If your garbage disposal came with a wrench for these types of situations, then use it instead of a the wooden spoon or broom handle to free the blades.)

Use the proper precautions to keep your garbage disposal flowing smoothly and debris-free.

A Word to the Wise

As a way to prevent future blockages, make sure to stay free from inserting dangerous items in the garbage disposal. Big, solid items like nails, bones or plastic materials should never be placed in your disposal.

Some people advise using lemon juice to rinse off the pieces of machinery that make up your garbage disposal. Making it a habit to use this method once or twice a month is a good way to maintain its efficiency and cleanliness.

Of course, for ALL of your commercial or residential plumbing needs, we here at Express will gladly help you maintain and install the top-of-the-line sewers and drains you deserve.

Topics: Commercial Plumbing, Home Plumbing, Drain Cleaning and Repair