Robert Lamoureux | Avoid blockages in your garbage disposal

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux
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Question No. 1 


The holidays are here, and I remember you had holiday advice previously about something plumbing related, but I cannot remember what and I’d like a refresher so I am able to prevent issues.

We have an older home and I have really become cautious about the care it needs, so this I’m sure, will be helpful.

This time I’ll write it down and save it for reference. Thank you in advance, for your help. All of your articles are wonderful, and I’ve now started to save them to refer back on when I need questions answered.

Happy holidays to you. 

— Mary K. 

Answer No. 1 


Great question. A little late now for Thanksgiving but definitely a great year-round topic, especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas when people tend to use their garbage disposals more often. I’m sure if my article was holiday-related, it was regarding improper use of garbage disposals.

We are called out for blockages more often at that time of year, and the issue is most often related to things such as fruit and vegetable peels. Though a garbage disposal may handle the peels just fine at times, the truth is that they are not designed for larger amounts, nor are the pipes prepared to handle what will come down.

The disposal can do its job well in most cases by grinding food scraps well, but where do they go next? They go down the pipes where they are packed like sausage in a casing, and before you know it, there is a good blockage of food scraps and you need a plumber to snake the drain.

Best practice is to clear plates of most scraps into a trash can, then move on and only let minor residue go down the drain. I’ve practiced this in my own home with large family gatherings for years, and I just don’t suffer blockages.

I hope this helps with your supply of questions and answers. I know it is great information to keep in mind as these holidays are upon us.

One additional note, this regarding safety. Smoke alarms should be tested and always in operating condition, but use this time also as a reminder to check them. There is usually a test button to exercise, and if necessary, change batteries.

Happy holidays to you also.

— Robert

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].

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