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Garbage Disposal

Plumbing Tip: Be Careful of What You Put Down Your Garbage Disposal

If you have a garbage disposal, there’s a chance you might simply dump your remaining food and scraps down the drain on a daily basis. It seems like a no-brainier: the garbage disposal is easy and keeps food from stinking up your garbage can—but did you know you’re probably overusing your garbage disposal? In fact, overuse can result in some huge problems for your plumbing system.

Garbage Disposal 

What Your Garbage Disposal is Meant For

Your garbage disposal is meant to shred limited amounts of food waste into small pieces to help keep your kitchen clean and sanitary. It’s nice being able to rid your home of a noxious smelling food item that would really stink up your garbage can and the rest of the kitchen.

 

When running your garbage disposal, it’s essential to use cold running water rather than hot to keep the unit from overheating and to help flush the system. Feed the food into the system slowly, rather than all at once, to prevent it from being overburdened. For the most part, your garbage disposal is intended for softer foods, but there are some exceptions to this rule.

 

What Your Garbage Disposal is Not Meant For

There are a large number of foods that should never make its way down into your garbage disposal. Some things you should throw into your garbage can, rather than your sink, include:

 

  • Celery
  • Hard shells from eggs and shellfish
  • Artichokes
  • Grease
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Corn husks
  • Fruit pits
  • Peels from potatoes and bananas
  • Onion skins
  • Unpopped kernels of popcorn
  • Non-trash items

 

It’s also important to note you should never throw large quantities of food down your garbage disposal, even if they happen to be considered safe for your unit.

 

Plumbing Problems That Occur

When you use your garbage disposal the wrong way, a number of plumbing problems occur. The drain and pipes leading from your garbage disposal can get clogged to the point where no water can move through the pipes; grease is often a major contributing factor to these clogged drains. Additionally, the blades can become damaged or wrapped up—commonly caused by onion peels—which makes them ineffective for future uses; the ineffective disposal ultimately creates a clog in your system as well. Finally, the unit can overheat, which may require it to be repaired or replaced.

 

Fixing Garbage Disposal Problems

There are some quick, do-it-yourself tips to keep maintain your garbage disposal. If your blades are coated with food residue, put ice into your disposal. While this trick won’t sharpen the blades (a common misconception), it will help clear the system. You may even want to freeze some lemon juice into cubes to help with the cleaning and deodorizing process. Odor is a bit of an issue for some units, so be sure to keep it clean on the outside rubber portion, and you can run citrus peels through it to help with the potential for a bad smell.

 

Also, make sure to keep all of the materials that came with your garbage disposal if possible. A manual can come in handy in a pinch when things are going wrong, and can help diagnose the issue. There should also be a tool that came with your unit that can be used to unjam your unit if it freezes up.

 

When to Call in the Professionals

Although there are some maintenance tricks you can do yourself, ultimately you may need to call professional help for your safety—and to save time and money. If you have clogged drains, a frozen motor, or a mysterious issue caused by your garbage disposal, call a professional. A plumber will be able to best advise you on how to handle the particular problem you have going on, and fix it or install a new disposal unit if necessary.

Moon Valley Plumbing is here for you in your time of need when the frustration of dealing with your garbage disposal has gotten to be too much for you. Let us be your go-to source for all of your plumbing and garbage disposal needs.  Contact us today to learn more about our service.

Plumbing Tip: Does Your Home Have a Closed Loop System? Make Sure You Have an Expansion Tank

Plumbing Tip: Does Your Home Have a Closed Loop System

Another plumbing tip from our plumbers in Phoenix!

Most new homes today have closed loop systems. This means there are pressure reducing valves, or pressure regulators, that ensure water pressure remains between 50-80 PSI.
plumbing tip
Now, this also means the incoming water can only flow in one direction, which can cause issues when water is heated and expands with nowhere to go. Because of this, homes with closed loop systems need an expansion tank above the water heater.

 

What Is a Pressure Regulator?

High water pressure can cause serious plumbing issues. A pressure regulator is a valve that reduces the water pressure that comes from the main water line before it enters the plumbing fixtures of a home. This valve is typically located where the main waterline enters the home. Using a spring-loaded diaphragm, the pressure regulator constricts incoming water before releasing it into the home at a reduced pressure.

 

Pressure Regulators and Water Heaters: Thermal Expansion

Closed loop systems with pressure regulators are still vulnerable to pressure buildup caused by thermal expansion. When water is heated by the water heater, it expands and needs a place to go. This causes pressure to build rapidly in the tank and the house. Because of this, an expansion tank is necessary.

 

What Is an Expansion Tank?

An expansion tank protects closed water heating systems from pressure buildup.

The interior of the small tank is divided by with a rubber diaphragm. One side is dry, while the other side contains water and is connected to the pipes of the heating system.

The dry side of the tank contains highly compressible air. Water that expands from the water heater can flow into the expansion tank. There, the air compresses, which makes room for the expanded water. This gives the water a place to go without the pressure increasing significantly. As water pressure builds due to thermal expansion, the diaphragm moves compressed air to the other side of the tank.

 

Closed Loop Systems: Many Are in Need of an Update

Many houses with a pressure relief valve still don’t have an expansion tank, as it wasn’t required until recently. However, homeowners may have noticed water dripping intermittently from the relief valve on the water heater or washers that wear out quickly in plumbing fixtures. This pressure buildup due to thermal expansion can indeed cause issues, and installing an expansion tank will prevent further problems to arise.

 

Contact Moon Valley Plumbing to Install Your Expansion Tank

Is your home at risk of pressure buildup and plumbing problems? Make sure your home is safe and functional. Contact Moon Valley Plumbing to install your expansion tank and assess your system for safety and functionality today.

You can find other plumbing tip, on this page!

Community Responsibility

Another major value of the Moon Valley Plumbing Company is giving back to the community.
“It’s important to us,” says Mingle, “to give back for the blessings we’ve received through the years. We’re involved with Homeless for the Holidays, a special project of the Salvation Army. Many people are familiar with the red shield and Christmas kettles; however, this is only a very small part of the many services the Salvation Army provides to residents in the Valley of the Sun. In fact, Salvation Army programs assisted more than 871,000 individuals in our community during the last year, and Moon Valley Plumbing was proud to be an active sponsor of this important project.”
The company was also involved in Neighborhood Ministries, Inc. in providing food and shelter for the less-fortunate, as well as public service announcements on local radio stations that encouraged donations to schools and those without some basic necessities of life.
“We love being part of the good things going on to help others in this community,” says Mingle. “It’s so important that we share what we’ve been given. As an established company here, it’s a big responsibility to give back to this city, and we take that calling very seriously. But it’s also fun.  Last year we had a blast painting a basketball court for the kids in a beat-up neighborhood, and we found it very rewarding to paint homes for the elderly through the Business Referral Network. We encourage anyone who wants to get involved to come join us over the holidays!”