I am turning into the man I always wanted to be. A couple of days ago, I put a banana peel down the disposal, and the next day, nothing else would go through. I found the YouTube videos for the make and model of the disposal. I found the “clog wrench” for the disposal. I found the reset button. None of these things made a difference. It was not the disposal that was clogged, is was something in the pipe.
I tried a plunger to force the clog through and discovered what the air gap was for. Dishwater squirted up and hit the lightbulb in the pendant task lighting, ending the life of the bulb. Now a trip to Home Depot was certain.
It is a double-sink arrangement, and the sink without the disposal drained normally, so the clog was in the horizontal pipe that connected the two. The problem was, I could not figure out what to detach in order to free the horizontal pipe. I unscrewed it at both ends, but it was firmly wedged in. I was reluctant to dismantle the vertical stack that was draining properly. In the picture below, you can see on the horizontal pipe that the black collar has been unscrewed on the left and the white collar on the right has been unscrewed, but I was baffled as to how to get the pipe out.
I slept on the problem, and in the morning I awoke with the ideal to put on my rubber dishwashing gloves, run hot water down the working drain to make it a tiny big more flexible, and see if I could pull out the horizontal pipe at one end. I tried, but I was afraid of breaking something, so I went to Home Depot at 6:45 on a Saturday morning and found Danny, the kitchen plumbing guy high on the restock cart.
He did not come down to look at my photos, I had to shout up to him and act out the plumbing using my arms, but I learned I was right, I would have to pull out the horizontal pipe with muscle power. He suggested that I NOT dismantle the other pipes, simply loosen them. He explained that this model of disposal has a “sleeve” style — the horizontal pipe is just forced in. I had to rely on the plastic pipe flexing but not breaking to allow me to get the horizontal pipe out.
Wearing my headlamp, I opened the connection about three-fourths of the way and dug out the clog with my clam knife, then put everything back together. I was quite proud of myself, and got to the Saturday morning hike on time. I will be more respectful of the pipes, and cut up any banana peel into much smaller pieces before putting them through, or else resume composting. I learned that the tubes connecting the dishwasher and disposal to the air gap should make a “W” not a “U.” I continue to be amazed at all the little things that need to be known to make home repairs. YouTube goes a long way, but I needed to find someone who understood how this particular model went together.