Garbage Disposal Not Working? Here’s a Quick Troubleshooting Guide

In-Sink Garbage Disposals: A Bittersweet Luxury

Few things are as indicative of convenient modern living as the garbage disposal. A clean and easy way to send food scraps far-far-away without worrying about them causing odors in garbage cans or compost bins.

And while it’s a wonderful luxury to have a sink equipped to swallow food waste, when it stops working the whole sink stops draining, leaving homeowners with a bigger problem than having to place unwanted food in the garbage bin again (how antiquated!).

Garbage Disposal Repair Tacoma
Inevitably, garbage disposals develop problems under sinks, in plumbing systems, and at waste treatment plants. There’s a reason sink deoderizers and a laundry list of garbage disposal cleaning techniques exist; because we can only send so many solids down a pipe before buildup causes it to shut down.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent garbage disposals from developing problems as well as ways professionals can help repair any permanent damage.

Things You Can Do Before Calling a Tacoma Plumber

If your garbage disposal is acting up, it may be due to one of these underlying issues:

Electrical problems or overloaded disposal motors – This might be causing the disposal to be unresponsive. A plumber will determine if your garbage disposal can be repaired or if you need a full replacement.

Garbage Disposal Clog – If your garbage disposal is clogged, it might be from a blockage further down the pipe. A snake should be able to clear the line without needing to replace the entire disposal.

Leaking Garbage Disposal – Worn gaskets within the drain pipe or the sink may need to be replaced. Ask your plumber if replacement in necessary before deciding to remove it.

How to Fix a Clogged or Leaking Electric Garbage Disposal

“Continuous feed” garbage disposals can suddenly become overloaded if too much junk is stuffed into the grinding chamber too fast. However, if, say, a piece of silverware is accidentally dropped into the disposal, it can cause a major malfunction that requires a plumber to safely remove the blockage and repair the damage.

Before calling a pro, check to see that the unit is plugged in (it’s obvious but surprising how often this is the issue) and that you try pressing the reset button in case the power has tripped.

However, if there is something blocking the mechanical bits, this won’t do any good. And remember to avoid putting your hand down the drain for any reason while the disposal is plugged in; all disposals are equipped with rotating knife blades that aren’t kind to sneaky hands.

Avoiding a Clogged Disposal in the First Place

Trust us, these things seem harmless, but they are the most common culprits when it comes to garbage disposal problems.  Here’s what not to put into a garbage disposal, despite what your six-year-old tells you:

  • Animal bones – Most disposals aren’t strong enough to break these down. Just toss in the waste bin or make your dog happy by putting the scraps in the food bowl.
  • Coffee grounds – Coffee grounds don’t really break down and can lead to a clogged sink faster than you can say ‘double espresso’.
  • Grease – Nope. Nope. Nope. Water will do little to rinse grease from your pipes. Do the work to pour excess grease into an aluminum can toss it when it solidifies.
  • Stringy vegetables and peels – Like putting dental floss in the toilet. It doesn’t break down and will eventually tangle itself around the moving parts in the garbage disposal.
  • Rice or pasta – Surprisingly, rice and pasta can wreak havoc on garbage disposals. These gather and swell in the drain causing, you guessed it, blockages.

If service or removal of a broken garbage disposal is necessary, Tacoma homeowners can contact West Coast Plumbing, Pumps & Filtration, LLC.

West Coast Plumbing Blog

Water Filtration: Making the Right Choice

It can feel like drinking water right out of the tap can be dangerous. Even though water treatment facilities typically have high standards, aging infrastructures like those in Flint Michigan can release chemical like lead after the point of processing. This can send contaminated water directly into the homes of consumers. One of the best ways to keep yourself and your family safe is with a filtration system.

What are the major filtration system types?

There are a number of considerations you need to have before choosing a filtration system. These considerations directly related to usage and priority. There are two primary types of filtration systems that homeowners use most often.

  • Point of Entry Filtration Systems : These systems actually treat water as it is coming into the home. They filter all the water that gets used by homeowners including water that may not otherwise require it like shower, lavatory, and washing water.

  • Point of Use Filtration Systems: These systems treat water as it comes out of the source. These come in many different forms. Some are container based like pitcher filters, others mount on the faucet itself or below the faucet so that all the water passing through a specific pipe is filtered.

Why filter water at all?

There are several great reasons to get filtration for your water, and you may not have even considered some of them. The obvious answer is to provide your home with pure water, but let’s dig a little deeper.

  1. Increased Safety Standards – Water purification plants undergo more strict protocols and regulations than water bottling companies. This actually makes your tap water a better source of drinking water than a bottle. The best way to improve that even further and remove that tap water taste is with a filtration system, that way you get the best of both worlds.

  2. Remove Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals – When we take medications, certain compounds are not processed by the human body, and are instead excreted through the urinary system. These chemicals then enter the water supply, and cannot always be filtered out by municipal purification methods. At home purification is capable of removing these chemicals, and providing you with the safest water available for you and your growing children.

  3. Fluoride Removal – Well the dangers of fluoride are controversial, it is only meant to protect your teeth. Considering how long water stays in your mouth, and that regular brushing of teeth delivers fluoride benefits directly where they are needed, removing it does not pose a risk. With filtration you won’t have to very about any adverse side effects fluoride exposure can cause.

  4. Remove Heavy Metals – Though it doesn’t happen very often, when heavy metals contaminate drinking water the adverse effects can be serious and far reaching. Filtration systems can remove harmful heavy metals like mercury and lead, providing peace of mind and prevention of any future tragedies these metals could bring upon you and your loved ones.

  5. VOC Removal – These can be a major problem near farm lands, especially when using a well. Herbicides, pesticides, and other volatile organic chemicals have been found to contaminate water sources and cause damage to a wide variety of systems in the human body. Removing these with filtration prevents unnecessary damage from VOC’s.

What should I look for in a water filtration system?

All systems are not created equally. The first thing you’ll want to investigate is what you’re looking to get of your filtration system. Many perform multiple functions so that filtration of harmful properties is just one benefit among a variety of system processes. Some of the system features you may want to look for include:

  • Water Softening – This can reduce hardness in water. Though it isn’t typically a problem in the Northwest, for some homeowners who get their water from wells or have sensitivities to the magnesium and calcium that make water hard, it can be a practical necessity.

  • Reverse Osmosis – Reverse osmosis uses multiple filters and a system that causes water to move from a concentrated state to a more diluted state, leaving behind certain compounds that water drinkers may find unfavorable and unhealthy.

  • Ultraviolet Filtration – The use of ultraviolet filtration is increasing and can be found in a number of products like toothbrush cleaners and water bottles. That’s because it’s an efficient and safe way to kill bacteria in drinking water without using additives of any kind.

  • Water ionization – Systems capable of ionizing water separate it into an acidic and alkaline stream. You get to enjoy the benefits of less acidic water that can include an easier time with skin care among others.

Financial Considerations

There are some financial considerations you’ll want to make while choosing a system. Comparing between features isn’t the only consideration, because cost can vary greatly. Look at the following to figure out what the actual cost of ownership is going to be.

Installation – Installation costs for a point of entry system will be much higher than that of a point of use system. For smaller homes it may make sense to use a POU system on the faucet and shower head when you know where your water will be coming from. Larger households may benefit more greatly from the guaranteed all water purification provided by a POE system.

Filter Costs – Filters need replacing. If you choose a little known manufacturer with expensive proprietary filters any savings you have could quickly diminish over time. Be sure to identify the cost of ownership in the long run. Brand name manufacturers will also make it easier to access affordable parts for repair in the event you need them.

Consult an expert for more information.

A plumbing company will be able to provide you with definitive numbers, and may have a working relationship with a specific manufacturer. This may get you discounted pricing on their filtration system of choice. This can be worth it as long as it has the features you want. Don’t throw out your standards simply because you’ve been offered a good deal. The whole point of filtration is to provide you with better water. Make that measure of quality your bottom line, and you won’t go wrong.