With six people in our household, our garbage disposal is used from dawn until late in the evening. We LOVE our disposal. It’s a super-sturdy ¾ horsepower ISE model; we’ve been using it for over 20 trouble-free years. It liquefies our morning coffee grounds, lunch and dinner scraps, and past-due leftovers in seconds, with nothing more than a heavy dose of cold water to wash them down.

Gasket Gunk — It’s Gross
When people complain of smelly garbage disposals, the culprit is almost always greasy buildup on the large rubber gasket at the mouth of the disposer. That gunk is toxic.

Clean the Gasket Weekly
Typically, gaskets are fairly simple to clean, especially if they are removable (a point to consider when purchasing a new disposal)*. We keep an old toothbrush on hand for cleaning the disposal gasket nooks and crannies.

• To clean, pop out the gasket, slather grease-removing dish soap onto the toothbrush, hold your nose and scrub away the greasy food waste that coats the gasket. If the odor is too much, hold the gasket under warm running water while scrubbing. We recommend cleaning the gasket weekly to prevent smelly build-up.

• With the gasket off (and good lighting at hand), peer into the disposal – typically, they are clean. You may spot a rogue twisty or rubber band from produce or a piece of gristle from a roast but that’s usually about it. Carefully remove any non-food objects from the disposal (making sure the disposal is OFF).

• Lastly, use the soapy toothbrush to clean the metal drain rim that holds the gasket. Scrub underneath as much as possible – greasy ick hides under the rim and holds odors.

• When finished, replace the gasket, turn on the cold water (ALWAYS use cold water when running the disposal) and run the disposal for several seconds to let the suds wash away any loose grime.

If your gasket is not removable, the toothbrush-and-dish-soap approach still works, but it’s a little more cumbersome.

Disposal Cleaning Maintenance Tips
To help keep your garbage disposal shiny between gasket cleanings, try cleaning tips below.

• Citrus fruit rinds
 (lemons, limes and oranges) – We use citrus fruits weekly in our cooking, so this tip is one of our favorites. Spent orange rinds, leftover limes from margaritas, and used lemons from iced tea/lemonade/lemon chicken are perfect for a quick freshening of the garbage disposer. Cut the rinds into halves or quarters. Turn on the cold water and grind away the gunk in your disposer!

• Ice cubes
 – Some people suggest making vinegar ice cubes, but we find that plain old ice cubes from the icemaker are just fine. If you want to get crazy, combine the ice cubes with the citrus rinds and let harness the cleaning power of both, at one time. As always, run cold water along with the ice cubes.

• Baking soda + vinegar
 – Before retiring for the evening, pour about ½ cup of baking soda into the disposal. Let it sit overnight (or at least for an hour). Add 1 cup of vinegar, let the fizzing reaction take place. Rinse the mixture down the drain with… you guessed it: cold water.

Cold, Running Water – It’s Key to a Clean Disposal
For those who are sensitive to first world concerns and water conservation issues, a garbage disposal may seem like an extravagance. It is. Disposals are a luxury convenience that keep modern kitchens running smoothly. If you are pro-garbage disposal, we recommend three things:

1) Purchase the most horsepower you can afford, it will make a YUUGE difference in successfully using a disposal. A ¾ hp motor is the bare minimum in our home; we are feeding many people and use the kitchen sink at least 2 hours a day for food preparation.

2) Successful garbage disposing depends on running a lot of cold water during and after the disposal process. Fully open the cold water tap at the start of the disposal process. Keep the water running 5-10 seconds after turning off the disposal, to ensure the waste is washed fully away. Failure to fully flush away food waste is one of the chief reasons people experience clogs with garbage disposals.

Disposal Don’ts – Never put any of the following items into your garbage disposer:
• Grease
• Stringy vegetables (celery, rhubarb, artichokes, etc.)
• Papery vegetable (onion skins)
• Meat gristle or fat rinds from steaks/roasts
• Beef or pork bones. Note: Chicken bones can be garbage-disposed at your discretion (they’re hollow). It’s noisy, but doable with LOTS of cold running water. Or you can toss them into the garbage. Your call.
• Utensils
• Glass/metal/plastic

Water You Waiting For? If you have questions about garbage disposals, kitchen drains, clogs, or plumbing in general, the professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter are on hand to serve you. Call Ray today for a free quote or consultation. 513.396-5300.

A recent walk through downtown Cincinnati from 4th Street to 13th Street was an eye-opener. The downtown restaurant scene is rapidly expanding. There are more restaurants in the 45202 zip code than ever before. For plumbers, that means one thing: Grease trap calls are gonna go sky-high! For those new to the restaurant business, clean and well-maintained grease traps are one of the keys to a successful relationship with the city health department. Foodies, this blog’s for you.

What’s a Grease Trap?
The experts at FloHawks.com have a concise definition: grease traps…capture “fats, oils, or grease (FOG) before they can go down the drain and enter the public sewer line. [Without a grease trap], FOG can solidify and stick to the insides of pipes, trapping small pieces of food debris and other items. [Over time], this solid mass can…grow until it clogs the sewer lines and causes all kinds of destruction in the sewer system including sewage back up.” Yuck.

Grease Traps: Required Equipment in the Greater Cincinnati/Dayton Area
In our region, city health codes require that all food prep sinks, floor drains, and other drains that collect grease be fitted with grease traps. The traps capture every solid and liquid that, well, goes down the drain. A well-maintained grease trap separate the waters from the FOG and prevents the greasy buildup in the municipal sewer line. It’s a fairly scientific approach: The FOG rises to the top of the grease trap (like cream but much less tasty), solids sink to the bottom of the reservoir, and grey water flows out the sewer lines/main drain.

As time passes, the grease trap fills with accumulated FOG and food particles and a must be emptied. It’s good practice to find a reputable plumber who can set your restaurant up with a regular grease trap maintenance schedule.

Do all commercial kitchens require a grease trap?
Basically, yes. And your restaurant’s grease trap maintenance schedule may be affected by the type of food that is featured on your menu. For example, pizza/pasta restaurants have greater amounts of FOG than frozen yogurt shops and bakeries.

Pro Tip: Stop greasy and solid food waste before it goes down the drain by scraping food scraps into the trash can instead of the drain.

Water You Waiting For? Running a restaurant is time-consuming, especially for those whose passion lies with creating the food and not so much with handling food waste. The professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter can work with you to set up a weekly, monthly or quarterly grease trap maintenance schedule that meets your kitchen needs. When you’re up to your elbows in dishes and customers, the last thing you want is a clogged grease trap. And Allied will ensure that the grease waste is disposed of in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner. Call Ray today to learn more about our grease trap cleaning abilities and our $25 new customer discount. 513-396-5300.

If you suspect your main line is clogged, look for these signals from your home:
• Gurgling noises/bubbling in your drains or toilet…”percolating” noises.
• Slow-flowing drains
• Sewer smells
• Water backup in the basement
• Sewage backup – stinky bits of brown mixed with bits of toilet paper

In main line clog situations (vs. the DIY secondary drain clogs in bathroom or kitchen sinks), draining water will not leave your home’s lowest drainage point (usually the basement floor drain). According to AngiesList.com, “A sewer line clog can lead to a raw sewage backup coming out of the drains, which could lead to significant damage to the home and an expensive sewer line repair or replacement.” If this is your situation, contact a reputable plumber immediately.

Suspect a Clog? Get a Plumber with a Camera.
A reputable plumber will attempt to clear a main line clog with an auger device. If roots are the culprit, they’ll be pulled out of the system with the auger. At that point, camera inspection may be needed to determine if the roots have been removed throughout the line or have caused damage to your drain. Depending on the camera inspection results, either a regular root-killing maintenance plan can be set up or (worst case), the line may need to be dug up and replaced.

Water You Waiting For? The highly trained plumbers at Allied Reddi-Rooter are experienced at identifying and fixing clogs in all types of drain lines (main sewer lines and secondary drains). They can reliably evaluate whether your clog is a candidate for an auger, high-pressure water jet or a camera inspection. Call Ray today to talk through your needs and obtain a free quote and information on discount coupons. (513) 396-5300.

For the past few years, we’ve been having mulch delivered from a local high school football team. The football players deliver it to our back yard. Go, team! Our point here is that “Mulch Arrival Day” (a.k.a. “Mulch Madness”) is our big cue to turn on the exterior sill faucets for the spring/summer/fall months.

Check for Leaks/Loose Connections
Over winter, leaks can develop in the water lines and connections that feed outside spigots. In our case, a relief plug in the line came loose an caused a leak when we opened the valve to the sill faucet. It was a simple matter to tighten it up, but had we not been diligent in our inspections, it could have caused a significant water loss and damage in our basement area.

Remember to check for burst pipes, especially if the exterior faucet remained on/undrained during the freezing months.

Understand burst faucets in less than 30 seconds
Woodford Manufacturing, a popular brand of exterior faucets (a.k.a. sill cocks and hose bibs, in plumber-speak), has an brief video that illustrates the mechanics of frozen pipes. Watch video now

New exterior faucets – Add style and modern technology to your home
Thinking of freshening up your outside landscaping/fixtures? There are several options available in the world of exterior faucets. The classic “web” handle version that offers little comfort to your hand or interest to your home’s exterior architecture is the lowest-run on the sill faucet ladder. If you’re ready to spruce up your home’s look while also reducing your seasonal maintenance tasks, several easily affordable options are available.

• Frost-proof faucets – A favorite! Installing a frost-proof exterior faucet means no more remembering to turn off the water in the Fall (followed by your spouse reminding you to turn the water back on again in the Spring). Frost-proof faucets are always ready-to-use,

• Comfort-grip handles – An excellent choice, especially for older homeowners who have challenges gripping and turning handles. Comfort-grip handles are an attractive and ergonomic approach.

• Theme handles – Show you love for nature with popular theme valves. Typically cast in brass, birds and turtles add a wild-life friendly look to your garden area.

• Dual-outlet (with comfort grip) – for homes with limited exterior faucet options, the dual-outlet approach is an easy way to focus your water needs where you need them most.

Learn more, Call Allied Reddi-Rooter today!
Upgrading your exterior faucets to a better design can greatly improve your outdoor experience. The plumbing professionals at Allied Reddi-Rooter have access to professional-grade styles and innovations that are not always available at the big-box stores. Plus, a quick consultation with a pro can help you choose a style and type that best fits your home’s “look” and your outdoor needs. Call Ray for a free estimate. 513.396.5300.