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Always use plenty of cold water when running your disposal, and avoid overloading it. Never dispose of very hard items like bones or corn husks and avoid disposing of fibrous and shredded items like potato and apple peels and celery. Never use a caustic drain opener.
If your garbage disposal stops working, be sure to try the reset switch located on the bottom of most disposals. You can also try using a broom handle or hammer handle to manually move the blades (BE SURE THE DISPOSAL IS TURNED OFF BEFORE DOING THIS). Sometimes, this will dislodge whatever might be preventing the blades from turning.
Do not rinse fats or cooking oils down the kitchen sink. Liquid fats solidify in the cold pipes and create clogs.
To help prevent clogs, fit all your tubs and shower drains with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips, and clean the strainer regularly. For minor clogs, you can try a caustic liquid drain opener (Liquid Plumber or Draino), but never use them on a drain that is completely clogged. The caustic ingredients get trapped in your pipes, and it can severely damage them as well as make it more hazardous for a professional to clear the blockage. Never use caustic drain openers in a drain that has a garbage disposal.
Flushing your residential gas tank-style water heater is something that should be done on a regular basis to prolong the life and efficiency of your water heater. Depending on the water conditions in your area, the water heater may need to be flushed more frequently (anywhere from every six months to once a year).
The procedure is as follows:
Turn off the power at the breaker and/or place the water heater in the OFF position. Hook a garden hose up to the bottom drain valve. Place the garden hose in a position to allow full discharge of the water through the hose ( in the yard or flower bed is ideal...try to use this water rather than sending it down a drain).
Open the drain valve wide open. DO NOT CLOSE OFF THE INCOMING COLD WATER SUPPLY TO THE HEATER. Run the water out of the hose until the water runs clear. Once the water is clear, shut off the bottom drain valve and remove the garden hose.
Tankless water heaters should be flushed regularly by a professional plumber.