San Francisco Plumbing - How To Unstick Your Garbage Disposal 1

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Plumbing Help for a Garbage Disposal

Plumbing HelpHow To Unstick Your Garbage Disposal with a Broom Handle

By Contractor Mike

Jan 5, 2007

There’s twenty seconds left before the 2-minute warning of a playoff game, title game, or the Super Bowl itself, and your team is two points down and looking to score.  Suddenly, the shout-out comes from the kitchen:  “The garbage disposal isn’t working!”

Naturally, you’re thinking, “I didn’t hear that.”  The game clock continues to wind down.

“Should I stick my hand down there?!”

At this point you really do have to say something.  So, you reply,  “No!!! I’ll be there in ten seconds!”

The 2-minute warning.  They break for three minutes of dueling Viagra and Cialis commercials.  We’re in countdown mode now, and you’ve got three precious minutes to solve the problem and get back to your BarcoLounger in front of the TV.

3:00 – You rise from your chair, scurry into the kitchen, and head straight for the sink.  You flip the disposal switch and hear a hum, but it isn’t disposing of anything – it’s stuck.  You then turn off the switch and stare down into the maw, not unlike a black hole beneath the neoprene guard, for what to you seems an eternity.   And all the while you’re thinking, “Okay, something got stuck down there … but I can’t see anything … and I don't have the guts to stick my fingers blindly down into an area with sharp rotating metal thingies, even though the electricity is off!”  You did double-check that, right?   Good start.  Less discriminating folk usually end up with missing fingers.

2:00 -- This is when that little voice in your head starts to work up a hostile chatter:   “C’mon, man, hurry up.  They’re gonna start the next play without you!”   You should now head for the broom closet, take out a wood-handled broom or mop (not a metal one), and get back to the sink.  Do not open up the cabinet below and whack the disposal with the broom handle.  Whacking stuff comes later.

1:00 -- Stick the end of the broom handle down into the garbage disposal so it hits against the bottom and side simultaneously.   Pretend you’re stirring a vat of mayonnaise with a very thin dinghy oar, without the paddle.   You need much more circular force than downward force.  Push down gently on the handle with the upper hand (Warning -- push too hard and you’ll bust loose the disposal from it’s mounting!), and use your left hand to force the normally freely rotating disposal plate clockwise

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Contractor Mike was a General Building Contractor for nearly twenty years in Los Angeles and is now a produced playwright. 

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