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Drain & Garbage Disposal Obstructions

Tenants are responsible for all drain, toilet and G/D obstructions since only the tenants and/or their guests use them. Most can be easily cleared in a few minutes. Your lease requires that you have a plunger in the house.

Sink, Tub and Shower clogs: The most common cause of these is hair. In many cases, especially if you have not waited until the drain is completely clogged a plunger will clear this. You will need to run a little water so that the plunger forms a seal, and then plunge up and down vigorously, Never use DRAINO or other chemical cleaners. They are ACID and can damage the pipes. In addition there have been several occasions when the plumber was burned by the acid when it did not clear the problem. Don’t use them.

Another solution for this is called the “Turbo Snake” This product costs $9.95. You can get it in a hardware store, If you can’t find it in a store, or don’t have the time to shop for it, you can get it from the Harriet Carter catalogue. Their phone # is 1 800 377-7878. The product is called “Turbo Snake” and the product number is B2286. Their web site is You should be able to clear a bathroom sink or shower in less than 5 minutes with it. It takes no particular skill to use it. It comes with a storage hook and is small enough to easily store on the inside of a bathroom cabinet door. It can be reused for years and it costs a small fraction of what even one plumbing bill would be. Just don’t use it in the Garbage Disposal.

Garbage Disposal:

These units are made to dispose of leftover food in a sanitary way which will reduce the likelihood of insects and other pests. They were not made to dispose of bones, or other hard substances. You must use liberal amounts of water to flush the food down while using the G/D. Loading the drain with food first and then turning on the water will frequently result in a clogged G/D. Never run the disposal without water.

Tenants are responsible for all garbage disposal jams and clogs. Many however can be easily handled by the tenant without difficulty. Rule 1: Do not put your hand in the G/D. The inside of a G/D looks like an airplane propeller with very sharp blades.

G/D hums but does not turn: There is something stuck in-between the blade and the drain. DO NOT continue to run it. You may burn it out. On the bottom of the unit is a hex nut or an opening for an Allen wrench. This is an inexpensive tool, (maybe a few dollar), which can be purchased in any hardware store. It is a standard size. Just ask for a G/D Allen wrench. Insert the wrench into the opening on the bottom of the unit under the sink. Move the wrench back and forth slightly several times. Turn on the water and flush the drain. Remove the Allen wrench before turning the unit back on. This may dislodge the object and free up the unit. It will not work if you have accidentally dropped a coin, a screw, a twist tie, broken glass, or other various foreign objects which may have inadvertently been dropped into the drain. This would require a service call.

G/D has no power: Most units have a switch in them that automatically turns them off when they are jammed to prevent a burn out. There is a re-set button on the unit. Just push it. Also check the circuit breaker.