Trash Compactor Maintenance and Troubleshooting
Trash compactors can make garbage day a snap, especially if you live in a small urban space or simply wish to take fewer trips to your garbage bin. It makes life easier and conserves space by crushing your household trash into a neat little cube about a quarter of its original bulk. To make sure this trusty appliance brings you many years of good service, , it needs proper care. Being aware of common mishaps can save you the time, expense and inconvenience of unnecessary service calls.
Tips for daily care and trash compactor maintenance
- Avert messes: Preventing spills requires some smart garbage placement strategies. Lay cans and glass containers flat. To keep shards of glass from flying or to contain messy food waste, lay a brown paper bag or some newspaper on top. Only use select garbage bags that are designed to be used with trash compactors, or you could end up with big spills and cumbersome messes!
- Prevent odors: Here's one dirty secret about trash compactors – they can give off some nastyodors if you're not diligent. Some models come with an insert where you can place an air freshener, while others come with odor-absorbing charcoal filters. These can help, but the best way to defeat the stench is to prevent it from happening by wiping spills as soon as they happen, and cleaning your unit regularly.
- Don't put anything dangerous in the compactor: Some things should never enter the trash compactor - especially toxic, explosive or combustible items - as you could create a dangerous situation. Separately dispose of things like paint thinners, old paint cans and rags soaked with gasoline or oil. Be mindful of disposing aerosol cans; cans of cheese and whipped cream get the green light, but do not include cans with toxic or explosive chemicals.
Trash compactor troubleshooting tips
Hopefully, your trash compactor operates without a hitch for many years. However, if something does go wrong, try these solutions to fix your trash compactor before you seek a professional to have it repaired. Be sure to check your owner's manual and follow all safety precautions.
- Compactor doesn't start: Before you deem it a complete breakdown, rule out a couple of common minor causes. Check for a tripped circuit by looking at your electrical panel, and then see if the drawer is completely closed. Then, wait a few minutes before trying again, especially if you recently compacted a load; some models may have a component that needs to reset.
- Unit stops working: If your trash compactor stops in the middle of a job, an off-balance load can sometimes trigger the anti-jamming feature. Follow the owner's manual to reset the unit and make sure objects in the bag are evenly distributed.
- Drawer becomes difficult to open and shut: Remove the drawer from the cabinet, and carefully search for pieces of broken glass or other particles that could be obstructing the tracks. Then, clean dirty tracks and rollers with a cleaner or degreaser, checking for broken parts and adding a lubricant if needed. Going forward, it's important to wipe spills immediately and periodically check and clean the track and rollers for dirt and debris.
- Drawer becomes stuck: To dislodge a stuck object – such as an aluminum can – hold the drawer with both hands and work it back and forth. If that's unsuccessful, try switching the unit on in case the ram simply needs to return to the up position.
If you have difficulty troubleshooting problems with your trash compactor – or you're not comfortable trying to – call in a qualified professional to investigate and remedy the issue.
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