garbage disposal problem, or normal?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by netmouse, Apr 6, 2014.

  1. netmouse

    netmouse Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    NJ
    If there is a stream of water from the kitchen faucet, the disposal drains just fine. If I dump a pot of water it does not drain but acts clogged. If I turn the disposal on, it does drain out the water. If I run the dishwasher, the water draining from it backs up into the sink, even if I run the disposal before running the dishwasher.

    I read somewhere that disposals are built to behave like this, like an air lock, but the lack of quick draining if there is a lot of water seems an issue? Or not?
  2. netmouse

    netmouse Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    NJ
    Don't know how to delete prior post with small photo. This is larger photo.

    Attached Files:

  3. dj2

    dj2 Member

    Messages:
    425
    Location:
    California
    Doesn't look like you have an air gap. Install one and see if it improves the situation.
  4. netmouse

    netmouse Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    NJ
    I think something else is going on. I've never seen anyone out here on the east coast use an air gap. Other posts note that an air gap is not needed if you have a high loop - "..just route the dishwasher's drain hose above the sink and back down to the garbage disposer (or sink drain pipe if you don't have a garbage disposer). This high loop will create an air gap in the hose and no air gap installed on the sink will be needed."
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,153
    Location:
    New England
    An air gap is required in some codes, and is always the safer means of making the DW connection to the drainage system - a high loop is never going to be as safe as an air gap, but a high loop generally works. It's those 'what if' situations where the high loop fails to block grey or black water from getting back to the DW where it is an issue and an air gap would prevent it. But, that isn't likely the issue.

    On many models, there's a rubber accordion-like assembly at the bottom of the sink drain basket...I've seen that cause a slow draining issue. When you run the sink, with the aerator, the stream isn't the same as when pumping it from the DW or pouring a pot of water in...the pot nor DW stream has nearly no air in it, so it can slow things down. Normally, not a big deal. If things back up in the sink with the DW draining, you have a partial blockage or a slope issue in your drain.
  6. Bill Shack

    Bill Shack 30years plumbing 10years plumbing inspector

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    montreal quebec Canada
    Do this run the garburator with water first. Put in the plug in the sink drain. Then fill the sink full. Then pull the plug and see if if it drains strong all the way. If it does not you might have a partially blocked drain further down steam.
  7. netmouse

    netmouse Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    NJ
    I put the plug in, filled the sink, then removed the plug. Also tried this with dumping in a large bucket of water. When the water first drains, there are some large rapid bubbles that rise up for a while, maybe while 1/2 the water drains out. Glug, glug, glug. Then the bubbles stop and there is slow draining of the remaining water. I did this a few times and tried a plunger, but no improvement. If I turn on the disposer, that helps some to speed up a tiny bit, but the draining is still slow. Again, just running the faucet there is no problem with draining from the stream.
  8. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,436
    Location:
    IL
    Sounds like you confirmed Bill Shack's suspicion. I would guess a partial blockage where the drain pipe turns from vertical to horizontal. Can you access an existing cleanout in the basement or make a new cleanout?
  9. netmouse

    netmouse Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    NJ
    The vertical to horizontal is where the sewer pipe is. With low flow toilets I wonder if "stuff" just piled up along the horizontal line. I'm going to fill the tub with water and let that drain and see if it pushes "stuff" along the pipe. If no luck, then time for a plumber.
  10. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,837
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It is NOT an air gap problem, but it could be a disposer problem. If the area around the cutting disc starts corroding which closes the openings it can cause an "air lock" in the dispose so that water will only drain if the disposer is run to "pump" the air out first, but it has to be done WHILE the water is running, NOT before that.
  11. Strictly Service

    Strictly Service Licensed Plumber

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    MA
    Definitely a clogged drain. When you turn on the disposal you are pumping the water out. Possibly up and out the vent.
  12. MACPLUMB 777

    MACPLUMB 777 TROJAN WORLDWIDE SALES RP

    Messages:
    679
    Location:
    Houston, Texas, United States
    call a professional plumber - drain person to clear out your kitchen sink drain line then no more problems
  13. netmouse

    netmouse Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    NJ
    Yes, plumber will be next. I filled the tub above the kitchen twice and let it drain. No problem with that. So at least the vertical sewer line to the street is clear. I think I'll have the old disposer removed and replaced with a normal pipe with sink strainer. I scrape "stuff" from my dinner plate (singular, I live alone) into the garbage can anyway - I'm wondering what could cause a clog. We'll see.
  14. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,837
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; I scrape "stuff" from my dinner plate (singular, I live alone) into the garbage can anyway - I'm wondering what could cause a clog. We'll see.

    Does that mean you do not use the disposer very often? IF so, that may why you are having the problem. They do not like being ignored for long periods of time.
  15. netmouse

    netmouse Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    NJ
    Ha! Well, I do talk to it when fixing dinner. I don't have plants. Actually, I run it a few times a week briefly to ensure any tiny particles that do rinse off dishes are washed away. And I put in a deodorizer pack twice a year or so. I do have someone here late this week and will probably have the disposer removed and just get a normal pipe working.

    I am not a fan of disposers, having paid for several calls. I had an InSinkerator when I bought the house. It reached its end of life when I turned it off, turning the handle that sits in the opening in the sink, and it kept running. Our friendship ended that day.
  16. DonL

    DonL Jack of all trades Master of one

    Messages:
    4,333
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    It sounds like you may have a restriction, maybe from oil or grease.

    What works for me, is to run only hot water and add dish soap as the hot water runs.

    Filling the sink with hot soapy water will help, if it is a simple clog.


    Garbage disposals should be banded, and many times are useless.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2014
  17. netmouse

    netmouse Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    NJ
    DonL, tried the hot soapy water, no difference. Then, the dishwasher does that sometimes, too. Thanks.
  18. SHR

    SHR Member

    Messages:
    112
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I will bet you simply have a clogged drain.
  19. netmouse

    netmouse Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    NJ
    Contractor snaked the pipe under kitchen sink down to basement and connection to sewer pipe. No real change in draining speed. Had disposer removed and a normal pipe added in its place under sink. Still drains slow, maybe slower. The thought now is that the old cast iron piping, pretty narrow to begin with, is clogged with mineral buildup from decades of hard water. Next is a plumber to evaluate and advise replacing cast iron pipe from kitchen to basement/sewer. I hope this is not opening up pandora's box and a multitude of new problems. Bathrooms are fine with water in and out.

    UPDATED: Add new photo. Dishwasher line coming in from the right. When disposer was there (picture above) that line came in from the left.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 18, 2014
  20. netmouse

    netmouse Member

    Messages:
    87
    Location:
    NJ
    Added new photo with new pipe.
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