What Your Plumber Wants You To Know About Garbage Disposals | Houston Heights

What Your Plumber Wants You To Know About Garbage Disposals | Houston Heights

Little did the inventor of the garbage disposal in 1929 know that this appliance would one day be a common device used in most homes. In fact, it’s estimated that over 50 percent of Americans have a garbage disposal unit in their homes. This tool comes in handy to take care of kitchen waste. Not only is it convenient, but you also won’t have to worry about foul smells in garbage cans.

But did you know that garbage disposal problems are among the most common reasons people call a plumber? Most of the time, proper care and correct usage can prevent minor issues.

If you have been having more problems with your garbage disposal and are considering buying a new one for your home in Houston Heights, here are a few things your plumber wants you to keep in mind.

The True Purpose of a Garbage Disposal

About 24% of waste in landfills is food waste. Using a garbage disposal could considerably reduce that waste. The waste in the disposal is carried to the sewer system instead. Now you might think that you should use the disposal for all kitchen waste.

A plumber would strongly disagree. That is because of how garbage disposals operate. A garbage disposal makes waste small enough to pass through the plumbing lines. Placed underneath the sink, the disposal collects food scraps and wastes into the grinding chamber.

When turned on, a metal plate starts rotating, hurling the waste against the wall. Metal grinders, or impellers, further break down the scraps until they are small enough to pass through holes and then flushed down the drain.

Dos And Don’ts of Garbage Disposals


  • Clean it regularly: Something as simple as running it with some dish soap will keep it clean and smelling fresh. It will also prevent clogging and blockages.
  • Put in only an adequate amount of waste: Overloading it will tire the motor and lead to clogs.
  • Choose the right food scraps: Biodegradable food waste like tomatoes, apple and cucumber scraps, soft bones, and lemon or orange peels are all garbage-disposal-friendly.
  • Use trash and recycle bins or compost: Just because they are garbage disposals doesn’t mean you can use them to get rid of all your trash. Non-food wastes should be properly disposed of or recycled. Also, throw compost food waste not meant for disposal into the trash bin.
  • Run water before and after use: Always turn on the water when using the disposal to prevent clogs.
  • Avoid starchy foods: Oatmeal, pasta, potatoes, and rice are other things that your plumber doesn’t want you to put at your disposal. Starchy foods expand in water and stick to each other and will cause a blockage sooner or later.


  • Don’t put in large chunks of food: Even though a garbage disposal works to cut down food, placing large foods in it will only make its job harder and lead to blockage.
  • Don’t pour in fats, oil, or grease: Fats, oil, and grease should never be put in a garbage disposal. They form clogs and blockages that are very hard to deal with. Though they might not clog your house, they will create a problem further down the line. A plumber would advise you to keep FOG (fats, oil, and grease) out of your pipes. This includes butter, cream, or peanut butter.
  • Do not throw in fibrous and hard foods: Things like celery, eggshells, and vegetable peels are best put in the compost. Onion skins, corn husks, and nuts also do not belong at the disposal.
  • Don’t let it go unused: To save energy or make it last longer, you might want to avoid using the disposal. But this will lead to corrosion, rust, and waste will accumulate and hinder proper function.
  • Don’t dispose of coffee grounds in it: You might want to put them into it to help with the smell, but that will only create a problem further down the pipe. Coffee grounds will stick together and obstruct the flow.
  • Don’t sharpen the impellers: The impellers are not as sharp as blades for a reason.

How to Take Care of Garbage Disposals

If everyone cut their food waste in half, there would be enough energy and water to supply 20 million homes. Being environmentally conscious can start right in your home in Houston Heights. And it is as easy as taking care of your garbage disposal.

A well-maintained garbage disposal can serve you 10 years or more. But sometimes, minor issues appear that don’t always need a plumber. In case of clogs, check for stuck food, but avoid putting your hand in it.

Make sure you put it off and disconnect the power supply. If the clog is further down, don’t use chemical cleaners, as they can corrode the disposal parts. If the problem persists, avoid trying to fix it yourself. Instead, call a plumber with the experience and equipment to deal with garbage disposal problems.

Above all, follow the manual. If you follow the above guidelines and the advice of your plumber, you won’t have to deal with serious avoidable issues and expensive repairs.

Garbage Disposal Problems? Call bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston City

Issues with the garbage disposal can quickly become really ugly. If the unit emits a foul smell or leaks, or the sink won’t drain, bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston will come to your aid. Our professional plumbers will assess the situation and give you the best solution. We’ll fix any issues promptly and ensure you are satisfied with our service.

If you have any other plumbing problems, you can call us anytime. We install, service, and maintain plumbing fixtures and appliances. In addition, our bluefrog Plumbing + Drain of West Houston emergency service is available 24 hours, seven days a week, and serves Houston Heights and beyond. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today.

Photo By mariakray at Shutterstock

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