The final manual covers four appliances that don’t warrant a complete manual by themselves. Each of these, disposers, instanthots, compactors and water heaters are simple when compared to the ones already covered. Also, they do not generate a great quantity of service calls.
This is not to say that they are not moneymakers. In fact, they are moneymakers; they just don’t fail very often. In addition, not everyone has one. This is particularly true of trash compactors and Instant-Hots. Although, it is true that everyone has a water heater they seldom need service.
Unfortunately, people are programmed to call a plumber for a water heater, instead of an appliance repairman. Gas water heaters are not covered because they generate too few service calls. Those few calls are usually pilot problems like those described under ranges and dryers.
Disposers are the most profitable of the minor appliances. They are, one of the simplest appliances that a technician ever works on. It would be wonderfully profitable, but perhaps boring, if a business could specialize in only disposer repair and installation.
Repairing disposers really boils down to one word, “In-Sink-Erator”. In-Sink-Erator has a virtual monopoly on the worldwide disposer market. The In-Sink-Erator design, which we’ll cover in detail, is marketed under the following
7. Hotpoint, and many others.
There are a few very cheap disposers made by off-brand companies, but 90% of what’s being sold today is coming from the Emerson Electric manufacturing plants. Originally, they were only marketed as In-Sink-Erator (now owned by Whirlpool), but now their design saturates the market.
This is really good news, not bad news. Like on microwaves, a standardized design makes servicing very easy and minimizes parts stock. A technician that has mastered the In-Sink-Erator design can successfully complete all disposer
Let’s go over the basic operation of a garbage disposer so that you understand how it works and what happens when it fails. A garbage disposer is an electric motor with a food-grinding chamber mounted underneath the sink. It is essentially a steel blender connected to the drain line.
The top of the grinding chamber is bolted beneath the sink. Inside the chamber is a grinding plate with teeth mounted on it. As the plate spins around, the teeth grind the food to a pulp and force it through a sieve that surrounds the edge of the plate. While the disposer is operating, running water is running in the sink. Once the food is pulverized, it flushes down into the drain system. Beneath the spinning plate is a water seal that protects the motor wiring and the upper motor bearing.
There are three disposer system failures:
1. A hard object jammed in the teeth is the most common.
2. A component within the disposer motor or grinding chamber fails.
3. The trap, mounting, or piping downstream from the disposer leaks or clogs.
Disposers all have a small built-in reset button on the bottom. The reset often pops out during a minor jam. If a customer complains of a “dead disposer”, ask them to push in the reset button before running a service call.
The following is a list of typical items
found in disposers:
4. paper clips
5. wire ties
6. hard pieces of plastic
7. cigarette filters
8. cornsilk and cornhusks.
9. bottle caps
By pushing the protective rubber inlet aside and shining a light down into the disposer, it’s usually possible to fish around and locate the jamming item. Often a long screwdriver can be placed in between the grinding plate and the wall. Twisting the screwdriver back and forth will move the plate and free the jammed item. Use long nose pliers to pick up debris. A crowbar or a 3′ piece of steel pipe is ideal for hooking onto the teeth and moving the grinding plate.