Garbage disposal jams repeatedly

A good friend of mine is having this problem. The disposal unit behaved itself nicely for about six months; now it's jamming. She can clear it, but it quickly jams again.
Any ideas? I know how to unjam a disposal unit with a wrench, but I don't know what to do if it jams again, over and over.
Some background, for context:
--She rents, so removing the disposal unit is not an option. Replacing it is an option if she can convince the landlord that it's broken, but so far we're not convinced of that ourselves.
--She lives in another state. I can relay questions to her, which she may or may not be able to answer. I can't go over and take a look -- at least not until the holidays, and she'd sure like to fix it before then!
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The first thing I need to know is what she's putting in it when it's most likely to clog. There are certain foods that are amazingly good at clogging drains. Get that information from her and we'll go from there.
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On Tue, 27 Nov 2007 04:44:02 GMT, "JoeSpareBedroom"

I got the answer. She's not trying to put anything in it at all; she's just trying to live with it. When the disposal unit jams it's a problem because the sink won't drain.
The last time it jammed (yesterday morning) she found a coffee bean and a tiny bit of plastic tubing in it. She has no idea what the tubing was from or how it got in there. Perhaps it had been there a long time.
She has purchased a drain strainer proptect the disposal unit's delicate innards, but the last jam occurred before she had a chance to put it in the drain.
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wrote:

The innards aren't delicate. Something else is going on. Let's try a thought exercise: In a perfect world, what sorts of things does she think she should be able to feed the disposal?
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Over thanksgiving I replaced my dads disposal. took about a hour last thanksgiving a towel had gotten jammed in it, and loosened one of the flais or whatever the semi loose grinding parts are called.
so we carefully found trhe exact same sized unit for easy replacement.
I live in pittsburgh but left a toolkit with some basic stuff in phoenix for future projects. everyone has tools there but there hard to find:(
hey I have a philips screwdriver but havent seen it in years:(
previously it took longer to find simple tools than do the job. with limited time out of town my toolkit is a easy soution
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In our disposal, ANY wee piece of plastic sometimes jams it, more often just makes ONE HUGE RACKET.
Also bad are wee pieces of wire and other such non-food things.
David
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Interesting.
Which foods are those?
Thanks!
David
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Jonathan Sachs wrote:

Hi, Wonder she pours hot water when using it? That is a no, no.
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Why?
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JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

Do an experiment. Put a piece of fat and pour hot water and try it vs. cold water.
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You shouldn't be putting fat into the pipes at any temperature.
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I think you need to ask about her standard operating procedure.
1. What is she putting into the disposal?
2. When does she put it in there? Maybe she's filling the disposal unit and *then* powering it on, versus powering it on and then slowly feeding the stuff. That'll do it!
--
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| Malcolm Hoar "The more I practice, the luckier I get". |
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Malcolm Hoar wrote:

My disposal likes to try to eat my 3M scrubbers ... I cut large ones into useable size and sometimes forget to take it out of the disposal side of the sink. Potato peels are a problem for my disposal, but I think they plug the drain beyond the disposal, so I don't put them down the disposal any more. I have tried grinding up lemon peel to get rid of odors. Seemed to work, but not often used.
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I got kids. Kids (at least mine) sometimes put things in the sink that belong in the garbage. One thing that has occasionally ended up in my disposal is the pop-top from a soda can. Other times it's pieces of plastic from one of those slotted bread bag closures.
Sometime these small hard items can find their way between the bottom plate and the side of the unit. Sometimes the shedders will spin past them like they're not even there, sometimes it will make an awful racket when the shedders hit the piece and sometimes the unit will simply jam.
Have your friend use a flashlight and look carefully along the side walls of the unit to see if there is any pieces of hard material stuck there. They can be a real PITA to get out if they've gotten jammed in there tight.
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On Tue, 27 Nov 2007 07:55:32 -0800 (PST), DerbyDad03

I had both the bread bag closures and another time a mangled guitar pick. "Now how did that get in there?" " I dunno. Not my fault." I could not even see it until I dropped the unit.
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Jonathan Sachs wrote:

The disposal is old and she does not use it often? I have seen (in 3 different houses) old and rarely used disposals freeze up. For a while they could be gotten to run again using the wrench, but eventually they had to be replaced.
If it keeps jamming without stuff in it (use a striner to insure that), have her call the landlord each time. Eventually he will replace it.
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