Working With Incredible Plumbers

Clogged Garbage Disposal? Try These Tactics Before You Call A Plumber

If you have a garbage disposal in your kitchen sink, you'll enjoy the benefits of the spinning blade chopping up waste from your produce to reduce the number of times you need to empty the garbage. On occasion, you'll hear groans from the drain and realize that some food has become clogged around the blade; this is especially common if you've placed something fibrous down the drain or you've forced a significant amount of food all at once. Before you call the plumber, you can attempt to fix the issue on your own. Here's how to proceed with this task.

Turn Off The Power

The first priority for any project that uses electricity is to shut it off, but doing so is especially critical given the dangerous of working around the razor-sharp blades of your garbage disposal. Visit the circuit breaker panel in your home — often located in your basement or your garage — and identify the breaker panel that is labeled "garbage disposal." Flip it off and then return to the kitchen to confirm the disposal is indeed off; simply switch it on and make sure that nothing happens. This extra step is necessary because there's always a chance that the circuit breaker panels are labeled incorrectly.

Retrieve Bulky Items

In the case of some clogged garbage disposals, you'll actually be able to see what is causing the problem by looking down the sink drain. If you can clearly identify the source of the problem, reach down the drain with a long kitchen implement, such as a table knife, and attempt to pull the bulky item up. Don't just try to push it down farther. In some cases, you might wish to use two table knives to lift the item out of the disposal; just be sure to never stick a finger down the drain. Even with the power turned off, the blades pose a serious hazard.

Use Water

Once you've removed any clogs that are contributing to the issue, turn the power back on and turn on the garbage disposal with your kitchen tap running at full capacity. Shut the disposal off quickly if the problem doesn't appear to be fixed — in many cases, though, the pressure from the water and the work you've done lifting any debris will fix the problem. It's a good idea to leave the water on until the drain is completely clear. If you are still having issues, it's time to call a plumber, such as Bill Rhiner's Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.