A Breakdown of Your Garbage Disposal! - Weather Master Heating & Air Conditioning

A Breakdown of Your Garbage Disposal!

how garbage disposal works

Have you ever wondered how your garbage disposal can turn carrot peels, food scraps, and other things into a pulp that can flow freely down the drain?

Let’s peek under the sink to understand what’s happening when you “feed” your garbage disposal.

What’s going on in there?

Inside the disposal chamber is a spinning disk powered by an electric motor. This disk has two main purposes: grinding the food waste into tiny particles and pushing them toward the drain opening. The disk has several raised sections across its surface that fling the food against the grinding ring lining the perimeter of the chamber. This grinding ring is made up of blunt edges, much like a cheese grater, that shred the food as it’s flung against them.

In order for the garbage disposal to work properly, a constant flow of water needs to be running. This water serves several critical roles. First, it softens up hard food bits to prepare them for grinding. Second, it flushes the freshly pulverized particles down the drain so they don’t accumulate inside the chamber. And third, it cools the motor which heats up significantly during operation. Running the disposal without water equals a stalled disposal, and possibly even an overheated motor.

Once pulverized by the spinning disk and grinding ring, the food particles mix with the stream of water flowing through the chamber. This creates a sludge that then exits the garbage disposal through the drain tailpiece before flowing down the drain pipes. The city code requires all waste from sinks with garbage disposals to first flow through a grease trap before entering the main waste plumbing. This gives heavier solids one more chance to settle out before the lighter stuff continues down the main drain.

Problems that happen

Sometimes things that aren’t supposed to go down the disposal, like an avocado pit, chicken bone, or utensil, can become stuck in between the spinning disk and the grinding ring. This will cause the motor to jam and usually trigger the disposal’s built-in circuit breaker to trip, cutting power to the motor. Trying to operate a jammed disposal can burn out the motor quickly. If you encounter a jam, turn off the disposal and give us a call!

If your disposal starts making odd noises, or stops working, or you spot any leaks underneath, reach out to Weather Master. Our plumbers have the skills to diagnose issues and perform needed repairs to keep this hardworking appliance functioning at its best! Contact us online or call us at (919) 853-7910.

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