Keeping Your Garbage Disposal Happy this Holiday Season

While the holiday season means extra days off for many people, your Hagerstown plumbers are working overtime. In fact, Black Friday was one of the busiest days of the year for plumbers across the country because of clogged sinks and garbage disposals, and we expect to remain pretty busy throughout the holiday season. Days when family and friends gather under one roof – like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – we experience a huge increase in plumbing repair calls.

This holiday season, we’re sure the last thing you want is a visit from us. That’s why we decided to put together this helpful guide to keeping your garbage disposal happy this holiday season and avoiding breakdowns.

About Your Garbage DisposalHagerstown Garbage Disposal Repair

Let’s start with the basics. A lot of people simply don’t know how to properly use a garbage disposal simply because of the name. “Garbage” implies that anything you don’t want can be tossed in the disposal, but this simply isn’t true. Your garbage disposal is actually more sensitive than you probably think.

While some things, like silverware, obviously should never be thrown down the drain, other seemingly-harmless things are no-nos too.

Garbage Disposal Don’ts

Grease, Fat and Oil

Grease and liquid fats should never go down the drain. As it cools, it hardens in your drain, causing nasty blockages.

Stringy and Starchy Vegetables

Carrots, corn husks, celery, asparagus, lettuce and potato peels don’t belong in the garbage disposal. They can easily become wrapped around the blade, diminishing its effectiveness and clogging the drain.

Rice and Pasta

Pasta and rise absorb water, expanding over time. This can form a pasty substance and block the trap.

Egg Shells

Because of the thin membrane inside, egg shells shouldn’t be put in the garbage disposal. This membrane can wrap around the blade.

Fruit Pits

Fruit pits – such as those from peaches, apricots and avocados – don’t break down in the garbage disposal. Instead, they just cause damage to the blade.

Large Bones

Garbage disposals simply are not powerful enough to break down large bones. However, tiny fish or chicken bones are fine and can help clean the inner walls of the disposal.

Non-Food Objects

If it isn’t food, it has no business in your garbage disposal. Plants, flower stems, twist ties, sponges, cigarettes and all other non-food items should always go in the trash can – not your garbage disposal! They don’t break down like food items, and they can cause serious damage.

Garbage Disposal Dos

Cold Water

Run cold water while using your garbage disposal and for a few seconds after. This helps flush debris from the disposal and hardens fats and oils to prevent them from sticking to your pipes.

Professional Installation and Repair

For optimum performance and safety, you should always trust a professional when it comes to installing and repairing garbage disposals.


Never forget about safety when operating your garbage disposal. Never put your hand down the disposal unit, even when it’s turned off.

Garbage Disposal Repair in Hagerstown

Hopefully, these tips will help you avoid major problems with your garbage disposal this holiday season. If, however, you do find yourself in need of garbage disposal repair in Hagerstown or the surrounding areas, Larry & Sons can help. Call 301-733-5428.

How to Prevent Clogged Drains & Sewer Lines

While you’re busy getting the house ready for Thanksgiving and deciding what foods to prepare for the upcoming feast, you may not realize that this is an extremely busy time for someone else too – plumbers. The Thanksgiving season is actually one of the busiest times of the year for plumbing professionals simply because so many clogs occur as the result of drain, toilet and garbage disposal misuse. During holidays and celebrations that are centered around food, the number of plumbing emergencies always increases by a significant amount.

Fortunately for you, you don’t need to be a plumber to know how to prevent clogged drains and sewer lines in the first place. This year, do yourself a huge favor, and follow these simple tips for preventing clogs.

How to Prevent Clogged Drains and Sewer Lines

Properly Dispose of Food and Grease

Hagerstown Drain Cleaning
Keep your drains clean to avoid dealing with this on Thanksgiving Day!

Even if you have a garbage disposal, there are certain things that should NEVER go down your drains, including fats, grease, gravy, cooking oils and sauces. Instead, pour such foods into heat-resistant containers and dispose of in the trash.

To keep food and other materials out of your drains, install drain guards, and clean them out regularly.

Dispose Paper Products Properly

There are only two things that should ever get flushed down your toilet: human waste and toilet paper. Paper towel, diapers and wipes should never be flushed. These products do not deteriorate easily, and they can easily cause clogs in the main sewer line, especially when you are entertaining and your plumbing system is working harder than usual.

Replace Aging Pipes

Old clay and metal sewer lines are prone to collapse and tree root infiltration. Consider replacing them with modern PVC or plastic pipes to greatly reduce your risk of such problems. With most sewer lines in the US being 30+ years old, many are due to fail at any time. If you’re unsure of the condition of your sewer pipes, a video sewer line inspection will let you know if it’s time to replace them.

Install a Backwater Prevention Valve

A backwater prevention valve is a good way to avoid a nasty mess in your basement. When installed in the sewer line in your basement, these valves prevent sewer backups by allowing sewage to flow out but blocking it from flowing back in.

Keep Your Drains Clean

Every so often, thoroughly rinse your drains using hot water mixed with baking soda and vinegar. Hot water liquefies grease, allowing it to pass through your home’s plumbing system, while the combination of baking soda and vinegar causes a chemical reaction that can break down stuck on food and debris. Unlike dangerous chemical drain cleaners, hot water, vinegar and baking soda are completely safe and natural.

Drain Cleaning in Hagerstown

Despite your best efforts, sometimes clogs happen. The next time you find yourself in need of drain cleaning in Hagerstown, trust Larry & Sons. For fast, reliable services, call 888-588-5923 or schedule a service online now.