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Among all of the kitchen appliances, the humble garbage disposal is the one most likely to be taken for granted. It is rarely noticed unless it is malfunctioning — in which case it quickly makes its presence known by producing the distinctive grating or humming noise that signals there’s a back-up somewhere down the line.

The mysterious, whirling blades that line the drain at the bottom of your sink remove food waste from your home and are an essential part of kitchen sanitation. A clogged or broken disposal can bring unpleasant odors, even worse noises, and ultimately, lots of food waste backing up your sink.

Certain types of clogs are easily fixed by a homeowner, but others may require more professional intervention. A garbage disposal that has been tampered with by uneducated hands after a clog has occurred will likely have greater damage, making it likely that you’ll need a replacement.

Although typical garbage disposal can last well over a decade with proper maintenance, a surprise garbage disposal repair can bring unexpected expenses. To help prevent that, here are 5 unexpected clog culprits that you should watch out for the next time you’re by the sink.

Jewelry

Some people don’t believe in taking their wedding rings off for any reason — that is until a slip-up sends this expensive asset down the drain. Whether a wedding gift or a family heirloom, the loss of jewelry almost guarantees an appointment for a garbage disposal repair.

You can prevent jewelry loss and subsequent disposal damage by removing all hand jewelry before you approach any drain, especially the one in your kitchen sink. Chances are that your wedding ring is one of your most prized accessories. While plumbers are professional garbage disposal fixers, it is unlikely that they will be able to save a shredded band.

Meat

Many people prepare meat with small bones (such as fish or chicken) in and around their sink. While they may appear tiny and seem to go down the drain with ease, the hard calcium-based shards can easily compromise and destroy your blades. Use a plastic bag to dispose of meat and bone waste in the trash.

Raw meat in a clogged drain is a secondary risk on its own, due to the presence of pathogens in uncooked meat. As many as 500,000 species of bacteria thrive in the average American sink, and the number can easily double when a clog is present. If it’s not handled swiftly, the presence of exposure and sickness grows exponentially.

You can avert this issue by watching for small bones and ensuring that no meat waste or fat goes down the drain. Sink pipes do not plumb as effectively when their walls are lined with grease, fat, or other sludge. This can lead to — you guessed it — major back-ups and a major headache for your home.

Toys

Occasionally a toy or small trinket might get lodged down the pipes. In a panic, parents may forget how to repair garbage disposal and instead flip the switch controlling it, making the situation even worse.

Although most children’s toys are made to be too large to fit in a drainpipe, many of them are just the perfect size to slip down the drain and into the garbage disposal. This hazard is not just limited to toys — kids have been known to do some completely zany, unprecedented experiments in the kitchen!

Perhaps the easiest solution to this issue is to make sure that your kids know not to put things in the garbage disposal!

Utensils

Those decorative ice cream spoons that Grandma got you from the Netherlands are neat and fun until one goes down the drain, resulting in a noise that sounds like the Tin Man in a trash compactor each time you flip the switch.

Small utensils that are produced for decorative or ornamental purposes are often used for food and thrown in the sink, where they fall to the bottom of the dish pile. Invest in a drain screen or try to wash smaller utensils by hand to avoid this hazard.

Food Waste Build-Up

No matter how carefully it is used, regular use of your garbage disposal will result in layers of food waste buildup inside your disposal and drain lines, which can result in drain clogs and/or unpleasant odors. The best way to prevent this from happening is with weekly application of bio one, an environmentally friendly liquid bacteria that will consume solids before they ever become a problem. If you are already experiencing odors from your garbage disposal, a single application of bio one is after all that is needed to completely eliminate them. Just two fluid ounces of bio one contain millions of live bacteria, which double in number every thirty minutes, consuming the organic matter clinging to the inside of your garbage disposal and drain lines.  The EPA-certified formula is safe for people, pets, and pipes, posing none of the dangers common to other common drain cleaning products.  Bio-One is available from all of our plumbers, and can be delivered right to your door!

Who Should I Call to Repair a Garbage Disposal?

If you live in the Seattle metro and any of these unfortunate situations happens in your home, know you are not alone. Don’t bother to get your hands dirty or try to fish the clog out. Instead, call Steve’s Plumbing and relax, knowing that your kitchen will be safe and sanitary in a jiffy.

At Steve’s Plumbing, we provide professional, knowledgeable service in a timely fashion, along with a top-of-the-line selection of garbage disposals (in case yours ever decides to quit). Set up an appointment today!

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