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Old 09-21-2008, 09:23 PM
 
Location: Lake Norman, NC
5,954 posts, read 6,883,885 times
Reputation: 27609

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Ok gang, I need some help here. I have a side by side kitchen sink and a dishwasher next to them. One side of the sink has a garbage disposal.

Tonight, my DW started microwaving some Rice A Roni and she burned it. I dumped the rice into the sink with the disposal and then I washed the dish she was using to cook it with in the same sink. Everything was fine.

After dinner, she was rinsing the plates and she announced the sink was clogged. There's about an inch of water in the sink. When you run the disposal, the water swirls as if it wants to drain and I see it brings up some of the rice residue into the sink (looks like course beach sand). When you shut off the disposal, the water gurgles in the disposal but never rises or lowers. The other sink drains fine.

I took a rag and plugged the drain of the "clear" sink and used my plunger to clear the clog. I can get great suction with it and it makes a whooshing sound like it's clearing the clog as I pump the plunger. However, the clog remains.

Next thing I did was scoop the standing water out of the sink and put a cup of clear ammonia into the disposal. I ran it for a few seconds to churn the ammonia in. It's been about 15 minutes so far and nothings happening.

I'm going to try plunging it again, but if that doesn't work then I am stumped. Any help???

Last edited by Stripes17; 09-21-2008 at 09:25 PM.. Reason: Fix run-on sentence
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Old 09-21-2008, 10:15 PM
 
3,191 posts, read 5,683,781 times
Reputation: 2083
Try some ice cubes, maybe the rice got all mushy and the ice will help 'chill' so it can get chopped up and go down. Use cold water.
OR pour baking soda in the disposal and then pour vinegar, and it will start bubbling. That might work the clog loose. Sounds like it got overloaded.
Other than that, no clue...

IMO...don't put peelings or lots of large food scraps in the disposal....it is mainly for food residues from pans, pots and plates.Not a garbage can
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Old 09-21-2008, 11:16 PM
 
3,020 posts, read 16,688,489 times
Reputation: 2442
Default Congrats.....

You are in a long, long list of folks that have experienced the horrors of disposals gone bad. One of the worse inventions of mankind.

You don't say how far cooked the rice was. Might have absorbed a lot more water after being in the sink. Also you did not say if you ran water, started the disposal and then dumped the stuff in a very measured way. Failure to do so can lead to a plug. The disposal probably did not get to grind it up and have it flow out in a small stream that was diluted. If you just dumped in a good quantity with out the disposal already running with water, you got the most common type problem. Larger quanities of anything is potentially very problematic.

Also may be a bit like glue and coating things. Some of the clearances in the flow path are not that large. I sure would not try to push it futher down the drain. Many times you wind up pulling the disposal and searching from there. The fact that the other half of the sink drains, points to a lump probably in the disposal itself. The fact it will spin is not good.

One thing that can work is put in some Rid EX like you use in a septic tank and let it set for at least a day and see if that will start to break it down. Most chemicals don't work. The ammonia may zap the Rid Ex. Good guess is it is packed inside the disposal and maybe its outlet. What was the ammonia supposed to do????

I've never figured out why anybody wants one of those things. That stuff should go in the trash, not down a drain. Puts a load on the sewage plants and leads to lots of plugged drains.

The day after Thanksgiving is plumber Heaven.
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Old 09-22-2008, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
3,351 posts, read 10,920,412 times
Reputation: 3363
Ammonia?? Outside of making your eyes water, not sure what good that would do.

You might try this. Get a pan and set it under the sink and remove the trap and drain fittings that are under the sink. You may get all the clog there.
If not, you will then have exposed the waste pipe that goes into the wall.

You could try to fish a snake down that pipe and see if you can dislodge the clog. My guess is the clog didn't go very far.

Pouring chemicals down the drain is just not a great idea. Many can harm the pipes. The other problem comes when you are taking the pipes apart, there may be some left in the pipe when you remove it, and then it gets all over you.

Playing Mr. Wizard with household chemistry can be a really bad idea, and could harm you. I hope you know about mixing bleach and ammonia - a HUGE no-no.

You may need to call a plumber
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Old 09-22-2008, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,310 posts, read 21,754,443 times
Reputation: 6669
Quote:
Originally Posted by Barking Spider View Post
Ammonia?? Outside of making your eyes water, not sure what good that would do.

You might try this. Get a pan and set it under the sink and remove the trap and drain fittings that are under the sink. You may get all the clog there.
If not, you will then have exposed the waste pipe that goes into the wall.

You could try to fish a snake down that pipe and see if you can dislodge the clog. My guess is the clog didn't go very far.

Pouring chemicals down the drain is just not a great idea. Many can harm the pipes. The other problem comes when you are taking the pipes apart, there may be some left in the pipe when you remove it, and then it gets all over you.

Playing Mr. Wizard with household chemistry can be a really bad idea, and could harm you. I hope you know about mixing bleach and ammonia - a HUGE no-no.

You may need to call a plumber
Agree re: Ammonia. Ammonia is certainly caustic, but I don't think it does a very good job of dissolving rice. As a footnote to Barking Spider's chemistry lesson, if you put bleach in the sink with ammonia you'll find yourself huffing chlorine gas (chemical weapon).

You may not need to break the trap open since the other sink drains.

If you look under the sink you should see a horizontal section of pipe going from the disposer to the vertical section of pipe under the other sink drain (if that makes sense). If the other sink drain works fine, the plug is somewhere between the "T" connection and the disposer. I would try to siphon/scoop/turkey baste all the water out of the disposer, put a bucket under the sink and break the horizontal leg of the "T" loose. If water comes out, the "T" is plugged. If no water comes out, the disposer is plugged.

If you don't like the sound of that or it makes no sense, you may need to call a plumber.

By the way, when I say "break" I mean "unscrew."
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Lake Norman, NC
5,954 posts, read 6,883,885 times
Reputation: 27609
Thanks for the replies, all. Yep, I sure jumped too quickly with the ammonia. It was Sunday night and I was trying to watch the Dallas game, so when I googled for ideas, the ammonia method caught my eye as fairly simple to perform. Doh! That certainly wasn't the best move.

I was looking under the two sinks and I do have an understanding of the connections. I was hoping this could be resolved without taking things apart. Oh well, to the tool box!
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:50 PM
f_m
 
2,290 posts, read 5,292,259 times
Reputation: 835
Rice is a very bad thing to put down the drain unless it is completely cooked. Rice will absorb water and swell up, and when it is not cooked and soft, it really doesn't degrade.

If something does not easily degrade by itself in water, then it is not a good thing to put down the drain.

You will probably need to empty the trap and maybe use a snake.
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Old 09-22-2008, 08:53 PM
 
3,020 posts, read 16,688,489 times
Reputation: 2442
Default Get power off to the disposal

If you are going to be playing anywhere near disposal, turn power to it off. Many places require a sure mean of removing power.

Some they put a receptacle under there and it is plugged in like a lamp, if so pull the cord. Sometimes they put a box with a switch like a wall switch and it is hard wired in. At the very least find the right breaker, turn it off and make sure the disposal has no power by turning on its switch on the counter before starting work.

Never work on the plumbing or even under the sink where somebody can turn it on while you are under there.
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Old 09-22-2008, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,427 posts, read 29,987,000 times
Reputation: 9661
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cosmic View Post
You are in a long, long list of folks that have experienced the horrors of disposals gone bad. One of the worse inventions of mankind.

You don't say how far cooked the rice was. Might have absorbed a lot more water after being in the sink. Also you did not say if you ran water, started the disposal and then dumped the stuff in a very measured way. Failure to do so can lead to a plug. The disposal probably did not get to grind it up and have it flow out in a small stream that was diluted. If you just dumped in a good quantity with out the disposal already running with water, you got the most common type problem. Larger quanities of anything is potentially very problematic.

Also may be a bit like glue and coating things. Some of the clearances in the flow path are not that large. I sure would not try to push it futher down the drain. Many times you wind up pulling the disposal and searching from there. The fact that the other half of the sink drains, points to a lump probably in the disposal itself. The fact it will spin is not good.

One thing that can work is put in some Rid EX like you use in a septic tank and let it set for at least a day and see if that will start to break it down. Most chemicals don't work. The ammonia may zap the Rid Ex. Good guess is it is packed inside the disposal and maybe its outlet. What was the ammonia supposed to do????

I've never figured out why anybody wants one of those things. That stuff should go in the trash, not down a drain. Puts a load on the sewage plants and leads to lots of plugged drains.

The day after Thanksgiving is plumber Heaven.
Hey hey !!! Whataya know? I agree with you completely everything you said here. And I live by those works you speak about why anyone would want a garbage disposal. I have a very very elaborate fancy smancy kitchen with all the modern bells and whistles but I do not have a garbage desposal.
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:50 AM
 
3,020 posts, read 16,688,489 times
Reputation: 2442
Default Garbage disposals can be very dangerous in sneaky ways.......

There are some sneak ways you can really get hurt with disposals.

One way is if they have wired it up wrong. The black and white wire have been switched around, basically they wind up switching the neutral wire in the switch on the counter. Still works Ok from all appearances in normal operation. But if there is a isolation switch down under the sink, when you turn that off, the disposal still has power on the hot wire, if you get across hot to ground you can get a nice tingle. I've had it happen. It potentially can be fatal. Lots of nice juicy water and electric make a strange combination.

You can get zapped just by touching the case of the disposal depending on what the problem is and what might have failed in it. Had it happen enough that I never trust anything. Want a plug I can pull or turn if off at the breaker and will still use the tester after that to ensure it is dead.

The other thing to know the purpose of the critters is to only grind up the small bits that show up in the sink from normal use, normally you should catch those with a screen of some sort, either built into the drain plugs or many use a much finer drop in screen, if you don't use a disposal. The disposal just eliminates the need to screen the drain water. It is not a trash can.

The drain system works by being able to float out all the solids introduced in a flowing water stream. If something is heavier than water, you can be in big trouble. Peeps will say I put this down there, but I don't put that. Like egg shells are Ok, banana peels are not, you are playing Russian roulette, sooner or later it will bite you big time. Don't believe that bunk, egg shells will sharpen it. Put nothing down any drain except what is supposed to go in the toilet and water, never intentionally put any type of solids into a gravity drain.

If it jams and will not spin and maybe goes out on overload, turn off the power, fish around for the jam, usually it is something metal, glass fragments will do it, can be bits of dish rag, sponge, plastic, etc. With the right socket, extension and ratchet / breaker bar, you can break it loose. Bits of metal can be real nasty. After you break it loose, you turn it both ways, attempt to get it turning freely. Can run ice cubes, maybe some liquid soap thru it. You always run water first before turning it on. Some claim cold water, but I never found that to make a difference. Never try to pour grease thru it.

Sometimes the problem is it trips on overload. They have a lil sort of built in breaker, some may auto reset after it cools, most require pushing in a lil red button on the disposal.

I've worked on a zillion of those things. Really got to hate them and what peeps do. Toward the end you had to be a pretty good customer for me to answer the call. If you have one, learn what to do and what not to do. Be very careful. Lots of ways for it to really ruin your day.

Learn from other's mistake, try not to repeat them.
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