Kitchen sinks, especially those with disposals, get a workout several times a day. From clearing away breakfast scraps to whisking away the last few peas from dinner, your disposal makes clean-up easier. Disposals have bigger jobs to do near holidays or after dinner parties which can lead to clogs at the worst times. Learn how to handle this common kitchen mishap and know when to call a professional.

Troubleshooting Clogged Kitchen Sinks

When the machine turns on but doesn’t activate, it probably contains an obstruction. Use a flashlight to see inside, but don’t put your hand or any tools into the unit unless you have switched off its power or unplugged it. Some food waste, including potato peels, eggshells and coffee grounds, can plug the machine’s waste outlets and create clogs.

Sometimes, the unit seems to function properly, but water still backs up into your sink. When this happens, the clog is on the other side of the disposal unit in the drain pipe. Small clogs may disappear as the vibration of the unit shakes them loose; turn the disposal off and on a few times to see if the system clears itself.

Unclogging Your Kitchen Sink

Every household should have a sink plunger to deal with minor clogs. The idea isn’t to force more water into the sink but to break up the clog with alternating suction and pressure, so plunge quickly to agitate the water. If you have a double sink, plunge both sides. The clog could be in a connecting pipe rather than in the main drain from your disposal unit. Because the plunger is the least expensive and potentially disruptive way of fixing a clog, make it your first line of defense.

Chemical drain cleaners are a possibility, but not all chemical drain cleaners are recommended for use with in-sink waste disposals. Caustic chemicals can also create more problems if they don’t take care of the clog and float into the sink. For stubborn clogs that don’t give in to plunging, skip the chemicals and call a professional who can remove clogs manually.

Preventing Clogs in Kitchen Sinks

Your disposal will remain trouble-free for years if you follow a few tips for using it.

  • Use plenty of water to flush the disposal as you use it. Water helps food particles move through the system, and without enough of it, waste can build up in pipes.
  • Avoid grinding potato peels. When the disposal pulverizes them, they leave starchy deposits that act as a glue, binding other particles together to form clogs. Banana peels have the same effect.
  • Flush the system with hot water occasionally to liquefy fats that can cause slow drainage or clogs.
  • Feed your disposal ice cubes occasionally to keep its blades sharp and clean. Adding a few splashes of vinegar as you run the ice for a few seconds will also help absorb odors.

When your disposal’s clogged or needs service, call the Pratteville, AL, plumbing specialists.

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