Most homes in the Littleton area have garbage disposals attached to their kitchen sink drains. However, not all garbage disposals are alike. Some have powerful grinding motors that can easily handle large volumes of food scraps and shred them into fragments that quickly move through the drain. Less powerful units may jam or incompletely shred the food scraps, which can build up and eventually clog the drain.
If you have a garbage disposal in your Littleton home, run plenty of water while operating it and listen to make sure it’s completely finished grinding before you switch it off. If you have an older unit, or a unit rated at 1/3 horsepower, you may want to reduce the volume of scraps you put into the drain, and probably not use it for disposing bones and other tough or stringy scraps.
Don’t Pour Grease Down the Sink
No matter what kind of disposal you have, you should never pour grease down the sink. That applies to sinks without garbage disposals as well. Grease does not mix with water, so it will cling to the interior walls of the drain pipes. Pouring detergent or soap down the drain can loosen some of the grease but not all of it. As it builds up, the grease will collect hair, food fragments, and other debris and eventually become a thick clot that backs up the sink.
Bacon grease is an obvious culprit, but every meat releases a small amount of grease when it cooks. When preparing a meal, if you must pour liquid that might contain grease down the sink, follow it with plenty of hot water and dish detergent. The detergent will help flush away the grease before it builds up.
Even without a grease build up, hair can clog up a sink, particularly when it collects in the trap, which is the U-shaped curve of the drain pipe. Hair makes its way into the sink from washing and cleaning chores. Mopping the floor picks up loose hair. When the cleaning bucket is dumped down the sink, the hair can accumulate in the trap. Buckets of dirty water from cleaning chores should be dumped down the toilet, which has a much larger diameter drain pipe.
Soap, particularly from a bar of soap, and other detergents can clog a drain if they are allowed to accumulate. A bar of soap left in the sink can slowly ooze soap into the drain, causing a buildup that will grab hair and other debris. If dish detergent or other detergent is accidentally spilled into the sink, wash it away with plenty of hot water.
Never pour paint or solvents down the sink or toilet. They don’t mix with water, will leach through septic systems, and cannot easily be removed by municipal waste treatment plants. They can also build up inside your home’s waste pipes.