Garbage Disposal

Clogged garbage disposal (disposer)?

First we must determine if it is really a clogged garbage disposal or a clogged drain pipe.

Customers often assume they have a clogged garbage disposer when the drain pipe is clogged(stopped up). Most of the time if the garbage disposal spins, it is not clogged. If the garbage disposer does not spin, you probably have a clogged garbage disposer.

On rare occasions, the elbow (ell) that is attached to the disposal (disposal ell) gets clogged. Normally you can tell if this happens by watching the backed up water when the disposal spins. If the backed up water does not even temporarily go down, while the disposal spins, it is possible that the disposal ell and/or the trap, the pipe between the vent in the wall and the elbow are clogged. If the water temporarily goes down, the disposal elbow and the pipes up to the point they meet the vent in the wall are probably not clogged.

Often, when a drain pipe is clogged in the pipe beyond the vent (further down the pipe than where the pipe reaches the vent), garbage disposals will pump water up the vent. Customers usually say “the water will go down when I use the disposer”.

If a garbage disposal is jammed or can’t spin for some other reason, for a long period of time, eventually it will catch enough small particles to fill the space around the perimeter of the grinding chamber (clog the disposal grinding chamber). If the disposal can be put back in operation, it will usually unclog the garbage disposal immediately. If you want to temporarily unclog a disposal grinding chamber you can usually scrape around the inside perimeter with a large screw driver (make sure the wall switch is off). There is a good chance you can get your disposal to drain good enough to get by until you get someone to put the disposal back in operation or replace it if necessary.

Mike Quick’s book OnlinePlumbingAdvice.com will help you avoid clog problems. Many people create problems because they don’t know the best way to use a disposal. You can learn the best and safest way to use a disposal if you read Mike’s instructions. Proper use will help you avoid clogged drains and premature failure of your disposal.

You can download his book for $8.95 instantly or order the paper back version.