Are Garburators Bad For Plumbing?

When many homeowners think about plumbing, bathrooms are often the first thing that comes to mind. A clogged toilet or a slow draining shower are major causes for concern but it is important not to overlook your kitchens. Garburators are common in homes and commercial kitchens all across the lower mainland. Just like any kitchen appliance, there is a right way and a wrong way to put these disposals to work. When used properly, garburators are helpful additions to any kitchen sink but improper use can cause serious issues for your plumbing.

If overloaded or improperly maintained, garbage disposals, or garburators, will start to make strange noises, grinding sounds, leaks, clogs, water backup or bad smells. The longer that you wait to address these issues, the worse they will become. If blockages make plumbing lines impassable for water, it will back up, even leaking from pipes and up through flooring. Over a prolonged period even a small leak can lead to extensive water damage, staining, rot, mold and a struggling plumbing system. The short answer to whether or not garburators are bad for plumbing is no, but without proper maintenance, they can be.

How to Use a Garburator Properly: A Quick Guide

In British Columbia there is more pressure than ever to manage food scraps responsibly. The main purpose of a garbage disposal or garburator is to manage small amounts of food that might be left behind following a meal. In an ideal situation, users would scrape remaining food scraps into a compost bin and anything small that has been left behind. It is an urban legend that garburators can handle food scraps of any size, in fact, large amounts of food waste, fibrous foods, like potato peels, or ice cubes and even coffee grounds can damage disposals and lead to issues in your plumbing system.

Coffee grounds might seem small enough to send through plumbing systems but they are just small enough and hard enough to jam mechanisms. The same goes for fibrous foods which lead long strands to become wrapped up around the impellers and prevent them from spinning. There is a long list of items which should not be put into disposals:

  • Fibrous Foods
  • Bones
  • Pasta and/or Rice
  • Grease and Oil
  • Pits and Seeds
  • Shells

The only thing that should be put into your disposal are small, soft food particles. It is also important to run water while using the garbage disposal. A strong flow of water will help smaller items pass through plumbing lines. Cold water will also help to solidify any grease or oil that has made its way in. By being even a bit more solid, grease deposits can be chopped up and made smaller for transport.

Pete & Son Plumbing: Keeping Your Garburator Running Right

Maintenance for any disposal unit starts with a proper installation. Installing a garbage disposal involves dealing with both plumbing and electrical components, which are both complicated. Improper installation can lead to leaks, water damage and a damaged disposal unit. Over time, even a bit of damage will lead to widespread issues so it is always better to have garburators installed by a professional and to call an expert at the first sign of trouble.

Are Garburators Bad For Plumbing?