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caring for your air conditioning equipment

DIY Plumbing - Maintaining And Changing The Grinding Teeth In Your Garbage Disposal

by Amy Henry

If you own a home, then you have a variety of sinks, drains, faucets, and plumbing appliances that can fail over time.  All plumbing fixtures and appliances require maintenance and regular upkeep so you can make sure they are working correctly.  You may want to hop over to this site or hire a plumber to inspect and maintain more complex air conditioning systems and water heaters, but you can take care of smaller devices yourself.  This is true of your garbage disposal.  To keep your garbage disposal in great shape, follow the tips to maintain and change shredding parts.

Maintain the Shredding Mechanisms

Most people believe that garbage disposals are constructed with a variety of sharp and strong blades the cut up food as it passes through.  However, there are no blades in the appliance.  There is instead a grind plate that sits around the interior of the disposal.  The plate features a variety of sharp teeth that grind up food, and it sits in place without moving.  A flat circular ring that features impellers sits in the middle of the disposal, and this device does move.  As the ring rotates, food is forced up against the teeth and the food is chopped up.  Once the food is liquified or cut into extremely small pieces, water rinses the debris away.

Materials Not to Grind

Due to the stationary position of the grind plate within the garbage disposal, food can easily stick to the teeth.  This can cause the entire garbage disposal to clog or stop working.  You can easily maintain the device by making sure that you do not force grease down the disposal.  The grease will glob up around the cutting teeth and they will not be free to grind up food.  This can cause motor stress due to the prolonged use of the disposal during a single session.  Also, food is likely to remain somewhat whole, and this can clog the drainage pipe connected to the disposal unit.

Fibrous foods also should not be placed in the garbage disposal.  These items include banana peels, celery, rhubarb, and asparagus.  If these foods are placed in the disposal, make sure they are already cut up into small chunks so stringy parts are less likely to attach to the cutting teeth.  Also, run a good deal of water through the disposal when you are done to flush vegetable bits away.

Replace the Grinding Ring

There are many ways you can clean the grinding ring or plate that sits inside your garbage disposal to make sure that food particles do not get stuck.  Placing cut lemons and ice in the device can work away debris, and so can adding vinegar and baking soda.  Flushing the system with soap and water, or bleach, can be helpful as well.  Cleaning is suggested every month or two or whenever the disposal seems sluggish.  Cleaning cannot prevent the teeth on the grinding ring from wearing away over time though.  The teeth then become dull and they no longer break up food properly.

When your garbage disposal no longer grinds up food well, then it is wise to change the grinding ring inside the appliance.  The replacement should be completed sooner than later, otherwise the motor may burn out from excessive use.  

Take the Disposal Apart

To replace the grinding ring in your garbage disposal, you will need to take the device apart.  Unplug the appliance first and then locate the drainage pipe attached to the disposal.  Place a container underneath the pipe and use a plumber's wrench to remove it.  Afterwards, use a socket wrench, plumber's wrench, or screwdriver to remove bolts, screws, or other attachments from the top of the disposal.  Gently pull the appliance out of the sink.  

The grinding ring should be visible on the bottom part of the disposal, just above the motor.  Bolts usually hold the ring in place, so remove them.  Take the old ring or plate to your local home store and find a replacement that matches.  Secure the new set of grinding teeth in place and reassemble the disposal the same way you took it apart.

If you have a garbage disposal, then you can easily maintain the device yourself by taking care of the grinding teeth within the appliance.