A Series of Unfortunate Events (Kitchen sink / disposal backing up)

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Old 02-09-14, 04:04 PM
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Question A Series of Unfortunate Events (Kitchen sink / disposal backing up)

Hi, all-

Short version: Disposal broke, now sink backs up. :-)

Long version:

About 2 months ago, a leak developed under my kitchen sink. The drip was coming from the underside of the garbage disposal. At the time, we were barely scraping by with Christmas right around the corner, so I put off having someone come repair or replace it, and temporarily put an old pitcher under there to catch the drips.

After a while, the drips became less frequent, and eventually stopped. What luck-- whatever it was seemed to work itself out!

Well, shortly thereafter, my garbage disposal stopped working. The red button wasn't popped out, but I pressed it anyway, of course to no avail. I tried using the disposal jam-buster key, but it wouldn't budge in either direction with maximum effort on my part. Nothing appears to be jammed in the disposal. When switching the disposal "on," there is the faint hum of effort from its motor, so it is getting power.

Since then, we've been just treating it like a regular sink without disposal functionality, putting our scraps, etc. into the trash can, until I get this fixed or replaced.

The problem is, despite the fact that I've cleaned the disposal out manually (reaching down with rubber gloves into the drain opening with the disposal breaker turned off), the sink gets terribly backed up all the time. I can't find a pattern to when it fills up, but the only time I can count on it draining is during/after a dishwasher run. Actually, during the dishwasher cycle the sink fills up quite a bit, but then it drains completely (at no other time will it do this). Something in the dishwasher cycle causes everything to push out into the sink, then drain back down the drain. Suction caused by the rush of water as the dishwasher drains?

Anyway, I'm hoping someone with more experience than I sees this and can help diagnose the draining problem. Could it be just a clog further down the sink drain, past the disposal? Or is it caused by the non-functioning disposal? I have removed and installed a disposal before, but was hoping not to have to resort to the nuclear option if possible.

Thank you in advance for any light you can shed!

-Mark
 
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Old 02-09-14, 05:43 PM
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Or is it caused by the non-functioning disposal?
Probably just from the disposal...

IMO I would remove it and not replace... They are more trouble then good and I never recommend them...
 
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Old 02-09-14, 05:52 PM
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Thanks for the reply. I've never attempted anything like this before... looking under there, it looks like a replacement drain pipe would need a side outlet that runs up to the air gap (which is also accessed by the dishwasher). Does that sound right, or is that line only needed if the disposal is in place?
 
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Old 02-09-14, 05:59 PM
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Air gaps are not needed anymore and can be remove AFAIK...

To remove you need a new strainer for the sink. A tailpiece with a DW inlet, then just reconfigure the trap...

Or get a new disposal...
 
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Old 02-09-14, 06:10 PM
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Something in the dishwasher cycle causes everything to push out into the sink, then drain back down the drain.
It's from the sheer amount of water. If you dumped a bucket of water in the sink it would go down real slow too. Unfortunately if the dishwasher can get rid of its water properly you'll start getting garbage back into the dishwasher causing dirty dishes.
 
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Old 02-09-14, 06:40 PM
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I think I'd like to just be done with disposals, actually. In line with what you said, we've had a lot of trouble with them over the years.

Trying to understand this a little better... I'm doing some reading and it seems in my state you can now lose the air gap as you suggested, and simply form a loop in the dishwasher outlet tube up as high as possible. So I remove the disposal, install the new strainer and tailpiece with dishwasher inlet, run the dishwasher's drainage tube up as high as possible with a loop up top to prevent backup into the dishwasher, then connect it to the new tailpiece's inlet. Then connect my tailpiece with the trap below, and all should be well. Does that sound right?
 
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Old 02-09-14, 06:43 PM
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@PJmax, thanks, that makes sense.
 
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Old 02-09-14, 07:06 PM
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You've got the right idea. Definitely important to fasten the dishwasher drain line up high under the counter.

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