Under Sink Plumbing and Food Disposal

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

As is the case with most household appliances and amenities, we often overlook the impact they make on our daily lives. Take a minute to think about what it would be like if you had to wash your entire family’s dirty clothes while preparing multiple courses for a dinner party during the heat of a mid-summers day. Think about that. I bet you appreciate that washer/dryer a little bit more. Oh and how about that stove? Let’s not forget that HVAC system, lives were changed with that one. It seems reasonable that the plumbing and food disposal would be on that list and not just because of that whole sewage waste disposal situation. Just like the other perks that come from living in a modern age home, plumbing offers you the convenience of piece of mind. So the real question is, what do you do for your plumbing?

undersink_and_food disposal_clip_image002While the use of plumbing is apparent throughout the home, let’s focus primarily on the inner working of kitchen plumbing, specifically under sink plumbing and food disposal. Although it is not a system that is widely used around the world, in the United States more than half of all households use one. The concept behind the food disposal system is one of efficiency and sustainability. Ideally, medium sized pieces of food can be ground down to smaller pieces to allow for easy passage though household plumbing and into the septic system, without causing the drains to clog. Not only does this system allow for sewage treatment plants to operate with more ease, it lessens the amount being sent to landfills.

Consider maintaining a well working food disposal system as a matter of civic responsibility.

Luckily, because the plumbing industry has been perfecting the food disposal system for a better part of a century, all the parts work well together, making it easy enough for they average homeowner to maintain. Standard kitchen sinks work in conjunction with standard food disposal systems. Ironically, while it is designed to handle larger pieces of food, thinner more fibrous foods can still sneak by and cause the plumbing to become clogged. Avoid putting non-food items and bones, as they could dull the blades and shorten the life of your food disposal system.  In addition to ensuring the proper use, it is important to routinely check, clean and maintain the system. In most food disposal systems, the dishwasher is connected to the food disposer; the main purpose of this is for continuity. While, it is possible to have a separate path, it is not necessarily efficient.

One concern some homeowners have is the strain a food disposal may put on their septic system. Food disposal systems were built with the density of a city in mind, which means those who rely on a public sewage system. For homeowners whom live in more rural parts, a septic system is more common. While septic systems are designed to function much like a mini sewage treatment plant, it is not meant to handle grease and food solids. The presence of either of these would cause strain and would likely shorten the life of the septic system.


undersink_and_food disposal_clip_image004Outside of the aforementioned tips, there are other ways to ensure that your food disposal system is in working order. Always run water while using the food disposal for around 30 seconds. Cold water is better, especially when dealing with grease or fat as it will help to congeal them allowing for easy passage.  An easy way to clean the blades of the garbage disposal is to use ice to help freeze and break up any build up on them. Another wide known trick is to use the food disposal to grind up citrus peels, because nothing says clean like citrus! Of course, if there is a problem that is larger than the average homeowner, call a professional!

Get your appliances, home and more inspected by Avid Inspection Services.