The short answer is "yes" but there are precautions to be taken if you have both a garbage disposal unit and are on a septic system.
When you put a food item in your garbage disposal, it ends up going somewhere. If you are on your city's sewer system, all that food ends up going to your local water treatment plant. But if you have your own septic tank, well, all that waste from the disposal goes into your tank. After a while, it will build up.
Best Practices To Protect Your Septic Tank
If you use your garbage disposal frequently (several times a day) - our recommendation is to have your septic tank inspected every 2 years.
Typically, if the homeowner is on city sewer system we recommend that if your household is 4 people or less, then have your septic tank inspected every 4 years. If your household is 5 people or more then you should have your tank inspected every 2 years. This schedule will ensure that you avoid any major sewage backups or other common septic tank problems.
The idea here is to prevent any problems that may occur which in the end, will cost you much more than an inspection and possible clean out.
What NOT To Put In The Garbage Disposal
There are no specific restrictions (other than the usual ones) of what you shouldn't put down your garbage disposal. Whether you are on a city sewer system or on a septic tank, the rules are the same. Here is a general list of the types of food items you should avoid.
Coffee Grounds - It seems as if coffee grounds are fine enough to go through the disposal with no problem. But the matter of fact is that after sometime, grounds can accumulate in your pipes and clog them.
Eggshells - There's a bit of a debate on Eggshells and Garbage Disposals. Some say they are okay, some do not. Again, the matter of fact is that the thin membrane inside the eggshell can wrap itself around the blades of the disposal.
Bones - Except for fish bones, it's recommended to NOT put bones down your garbage disposal. And don't be fooled into thinking you have an industrial strength disposal that can do the job - as of this writing - there is no such thing.
Pits and Seeds - You would never think of putting a marble down your garbage disposal, right? Well, some pits and seeds are just as hard as a marble so you can imagine the damage that these would cause to the blades of the disposal unit.
Grease - Most of us think of grease as liquid and assume it's okay to put down the disposal. But - we would be wrong. In general, garbage disposals CAN handle liquids but grease doesn't always stay liquid. Once it cools, it does solidify to some extent. And that is when the problems begin.
So, avoid putting all forms of oils and fats down your disposal.
Meats - Raw meats or greasy meat or meat with gristle should never go down the disposal. Not only can the gristle be too hard to grind, but the meat can become stringy and entangle around the blade.
Grains - This includes rice, pasta, couscous, quinoa, barley, millet and many others. Does not matter if it's cooked or raw - avoid putting this down your disposal. The problem with these is that they tend to expand the more they are exposed to liquids. So, they can continue to expand and clog up your pipes so avoid putting these types of foods down your garbage disposal.
Fibrous Foods - Most everyone hates it when we get the Silk from corn stuck in our teeth. All foods that are similar, such as celery and asparagus should NOT be put down your garbage disposal. These can readily get tangled up in the blades and wreck your disposal unit.
You can see a more complete list in our article What Not To Put In Your Garbage Disposal
If you have any questions about garbage disposals, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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