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Garburator Maintenance

Garburators (garbage disposals) are a common instigator of drainage blockages. Usually it begins by putting the wrong material through the garburator (rice or corn husks for example) or simply just not running the water while its doing its work. One time I was called out to a commercial kitchen where they had been preparing for a large catering job. They had been forcing large amounts of vegetable material down the drain without running the water at all (its a commercial garburator so it should be tough right?). In fact, the garburator was doing just fine! It was having no trouble at all with garbling up the vegetable matter, but the 20 feet of 2" horizontal drain pipe the garburator was connected to had no way to get rid of that

Standard Residential Garburator Installation

much material. Had they been running the water as the the garburator was in use there would have been no problem, but after my arrival and a little investigating I found a solid veggy blockage a little over 10 feet long! After a little bit of power snaking and hydro jetting we had the kitchen drain working like new again.

Here's a few tips to get the most out of your garburator:

Always run water while operating your garburator. When your garburator has finished garberating (its making a higher pitched sound), turn the garburator off but let the water run another 15 seconds or so. This ensures the material thats gone through the garburator has a chance to make its way down to the larger sized sewer pipes and won't be sitting around waiting to clog up on you.

Don't put harsh chemicals such as Liquid Plumber or Zonk down your garburator. Nasty chemicals will corrode and damage your garburator over time. Acidic liquid whirring around in your garburator is always a bad idea.


Stringy or fiberous material can jam the garburator motor.

Don't put stringy or fiberous things down the garburator. Things like corn husks, celery stalks, artichokes, or onion skins can all wrap around the blades and potentially jam the garburator.

Don't put anything down your drain that expands. Rice or pasta are a couple of the worst culprits. They're both sticky AND they expand! Rice sitting in the drain can easily expand and clog the drain. Everything else that goes down the drain only worsens the clog until its dealt with.

Probably I don't need to mention it, but avoid putting hard solid things into your garbage disposal. We've all lost spoons and forks down there, but also things like peach pits and bones are hard on your garburators blades.

While we're on the subject: Don't put your hand in the garburator ever! Scenario - A spoons goes into the garburator and jams the motor. A hero puts his hand into the garburator to pull out the spoon which in turn releases the garburator jammed blades and it begins hand and finger alterations!


Spagetti can expand and clog your kitchen drain.

If you need to get something out of the garburator, use a flashlight and needle nose plyers. If you really want a hand to go in there make sure the breaker at your power panel is turned off to the garburator so there is NO chance it will start up. Better yet turn the breaker off AND stick with the needle nose plyers.


Ice sharpens and lemons freshen!

If your garburator has a bad odor, leave a few tablespoons of baking soda in there for about 30 minutes. Then add a cup of vinegar and turn the garburator on. Run some water for a minute or so and the oder should be gone. You could try Borax which is a biodegradeable sink cleaner that won't damage your pipes or drains. Also, its nice to occasionally grind up orange or lemon rinds to freshen up the garburator.

Occasionally throw some ice cubes into your garburator can help to keep your blades sharper as well.

If your garburator stops:

It might be jammed. Turn the switch off at the kitchen sink AND turn the circuit breaker off to the garburator. Check with a flashlight to see if anything significant (like a spoon or fork) is jamming it up. If you do find something in there, remove the offending item with needle nose plyers. If you don't see anything it could be that something fiberous has a death grip on it. Try forcing the motor either with a large allen key or if you have it use the tool that came with the garberator. At the bottom of your garberator you'll see a large allen-key style hole to fit the tool into. Quite often just forcing the garberator to spin will dislodge whatever has jammed it.


Allen key garburator dislodging tool

It might just need to be reset. There will be a small red or black button on the bottom of your garburator. Sometimes just pushing the button is all thats needed.

If you are having trouble with your garburator or if you are just wanting to have it replaced we'd be happy to come out and do the job for you. Call us at (778) 899-3604 and we will set up and time that works for you.