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Garbage Disposal Warnings for Thanksgiving


This week is Thanksgiving, and it’s a perfect time for us to address something important about your home’s plumbing—it’s at a high risk of problems this week! In fact, the busiest day of the year for a plumber in Rochester, NY is the day after Thanksgiving. While everyone else heads out to shop for Black Friday, professional plumbers are heading to people’s homes to unclog their drains and repair their kitchen plumbing. If you’re playing host to the family this Thanksgiving, you’ll already have some idea how much strain you’ll place on your kitchen plumbing.

We can give you some pre-repair help in this post about the part of your kitchen plumbing that is at the highest risk during Thanksgiving: the garbage disposal. If you know what to keep out of the disposal during your feasting festivities, you’ll have a much higher chance of making it through the celebrations without having to call us for repairs.

The Basics of What Can’t Go Down the Disposal

Kitchen disposals are designed to keep food waste out of the garbage and instead send it down into the sewer system. The disposal uses blunt impellers to hurl the food waste into a grind ring that pulverizes the food so it can easily go down the drain. This grinding system can’t handle all objects you put down it. Here’s what to keep out of the disposal this Thanksgiving (and every day after it):

  • Actual garbage: The term garbage disposal unfortunately leads people to believe that inorganic garbage can go down it. It can’t. Any type of trash, such as plastic and paper, should be thrown in the actual trash, not the disposal.
  • Hard food waste: Here’s a good rule to follow when it comes to what type of food waste you can put down the disposal: if you can’t chew it with your teeth, your disposal can’t grind it. Watch out in particular for fruit pits, meat bones, and unpopped popcorn kernels. 
  • Stringy foods: The main food types to look out for here are fibrous vegetables like celery and asparagus. Onion skins are also trouble. These food items can become wrapped around the mechanical parts of the disposal and damage them.
  • Fats, oils, and grease: Collectively known as FOG, these cooking products look like harmless liquids when they’re hot. When they cool down, however, they turn into waxy solids that can gunk up the disposal and also build up in the drainpipes. Pour FOG into a separate receptacle and put it in the trash. 
  • Pasta and rice: These don’t seem like they would be problems, but they both absorb water and swell up, possibly creating blockages. 
  • Ice cubes: You may have heard you can “sharpen” the blades of the disposal with ice cubes. As we explained above, there aren’t any sharp blades in the disposal, and hard items like ice cubes can damage it.

If you do run into a plumbing emergency this Thanksgiving, we’re here to see you get the help you need. We offer service so good, you’ll find a reason to call us!

Call on Triple-O Heating, Cooling, Electrical & Plumbing—we’re Your One-stop Shop for HVAC, Plumbing and Electrical service!

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