Do I need a new garbage disposal?

Over thepast couple of weeks, I have had no end of plumbing problems. One of those problems has been that my sink has backed up several times.

Now, since owning the house, I would occasionally have the sink clog, and usually filling the disposal with water and then turning it on would be enough to dislodge whatever was causing the problem in the first place, and thew water would merrily rush down the drain.

2 times in the past month, however, this hasn’t worked, and instead I have had to snake out the drain pipes going into the floor. The pipes were clogged some 12 to 15 feet down, and I didn’t usually pull anything back other than some small shavings of fruit rind or something. Eventually I guess I would just bash whatever it was far enough that it dropped into the 3-inch drain pipes leading out of my house, and that solved my problem.

So, is it possible my disposal isn’t grinding things up well enough, and that it’s somehow clumping and hardening further down? I really don’t want to have to take the pipes apart to see what’s in there, but I will if that’s the only way to be sure.

Also, my disposal doesn’ty make any odd noises I am aware of, and it spins freely.

Thakns for the advice.

What are you putting into the disposer, and how long do you let the water run after turning the disposer off?

If it was something stringy or fiberous maybe. Since I don’t know how well you know the innards of a garbage disposal, I’ll just go ahead and mention this. Part of what the garbage disposal does is force all the food thorugh small slots, in the wall/floor of the machine, since nothing bigger then these slots can get to the drain, if it’s grinding things properly, they just won’t go down. What you do have to worry about, however, is stringy or fiberous things that can get through and then ball up and cause problems. I’m guessing you drains are just slowing down and need a good cleaning. If they’re all caked up with what my FIL likes to call ‘liver’ that will effectively cause the inside diameter to be smaller and too much food too quickly could back it up.
Something you could try (and should be doing anyways) is to feed the garbage down the disposal slower (a little at a time) and let ALOT of water run with it.

Let’s see…just about anything that isn’t rock hard (ie peach pits or mago pits) that is scraped off the plate goes into the disposal. Red/Green pepper stems, mango rind, orange rind, used lemons, bread and bagel crusts, onion peel, starberry tops…etc I usually run the water for several seconds after sending stuff down the disposal, as well as while it’s running. If it was really full when I turned it on, I’ll run the water for longer, like 20 or 30 seconds.

What wouldl I use to give the drains a “good cleaning”? The pipes in the floor that I cen see are generally pretty clear. would it be the longer horizontal runs that would get this “liver” of which you speak?

I once had a disposer that could never deal with potato peels. Corn cobs, chicken bones, apple cores, yes; but potato peels plugged it every time.

I’m not sure exactly what works best, but I’m sure a plumber will come along to make some suggestions.

BTW I don’t know what type of garbage disposal you have, but some of them (at least mine) suggests that you DO put peach pits down them. It helps to clean the insides of it, but if you’re having plumbing issues I wouldn’t suggest it.
Of what you mentioned, the only thing I’d be worried about is the pepper stems. I’d be worried about them being to fiberous.

I usually stay away from carrot/potato peels. I always get worried that they’ll make it though somewhat in tact and then cling to the pipes and cause problems. Normally I peel all my potatoes either into the garbage or into the sink and then scoop them out with my hand and throw them away. Though I still grind whatever is left in there.

Another thing, stay away from mashed potatoes. I heard a plumber once say that he refers to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday becuase of all the clogged drains he had to deal with on that Friday. He said the biggest culprit is mashed potatoes.
One more thing, if anyone wants the god of home garbage disposals, look at In Sink Erator’s Evolution line. The picture shows the entire top of a pineapple going down the disposal. I did it once and I surprised it actually ate the whole thing. But with all the fiber in that I wouldn’t do it on a regular basis.

No, you don’t need a new disposal.
You probably just need your lines snaked farther down than the current clog, but at least as far as a big pipe, like the one under the lawn.

The problems I’ve seen are dumb people using the disposer and not telling you.
The most recent, when a plastic bag was snagged and pulled out by the snake, was caused by a visiting granny. Without asking, she decided to clean stuff out of the back of the fridge. And there was a moldy lime in a baggie. She thought it would stink in the trash, so she put the whole thing in the disposal.

By the way, the easiest way to check or degrease and de-smell a disposal is to grind a couple trays of ice cubes. If they go down in short order your machine is working. The ice will scape off any grease buildup.

I do the ice cube thing every now and then. I also don’t have too many dumb people over to my house. I grew up on a septic system, so my relations (who still live on septic systems) all tend to put stuff in the garbage rather than down the disposal.

As for snaking, I just recently had the line snaked from the outside clenaout all the way tot he city main, and I know my snake runs from the sink to the main inside the house, so you think it’s my 3-inch pipe INSIDE the house that’s the problem?

Oh, and people actually grind up peach pits? I can wake people in china if I grind peach pits. I am pretty sure my wife and daughter would run screaming from the house.