Common Problems for Garbage Disposals
Clogged Garbage Disposal
If the motor makes a humming noise but the waste is not being sent down the drain, it may be clogged.
If the garbage disposal won’t grind but the motor makes a humming noise, it may be jammed.
Garbage Disposal Leak
A pool of water underneath your sink may be from a leaky garbage disposal.
If you flip the switch and your garbage disposal doesn’t make a sound, it probably overheated due to overfilling and has tripped itself off. See if resetting the GFCI outlet solves the problem.
Please note: Before trying a DIY fix, make sure the garbage disposal is turned off and the circuit breaker is shut off.
Maintenance Tips for Garbage Disposals
Most garbage disposal problems are avoidable, and garbage disposal maintenance is very easy.
- Keep your garbage disposal clean and odor-free by pouring a little dish soap into it, turning on the cold water, and running it for about a minute.
- Run your garbage disposal regularly to help prevent rust and corrosion, keep moving parts from freezing up, and prevent food waste from building up.
- Use a strong flow of cold water when using your disposal. Cold water hardens food, making it easier for the garbage disposal to grind it up and push it out the drain pipe.
- Run your disposal longer. After your garbage disposal has finished grinding up the waste, keep it and the water running for a minute. This ensures that all the food has been flushed out the drain pipe to prevent clogs.
- Cut large food items into smaller pieces so the disposal is not overfilled which could cause it to overheat.
- Use a drain strainer to help avoid blockages.
- Help eliminate odors from your disposal by grinding up a small lemon peel with ice cubes while running water. Borax can be used to help eliminate odor-causing mold and mildew that is in your garbage disposal.
- Turn the garbage disposal off before you turn the water off.
The number one rule of using a garbage disposal… Never grind anything that is not a food item. It can damage the garbage disposal blades and motor.
- Never grind plastic, metal, glass, or paper products.
- Do not grind cigarette butts.
- Do not use hot water when using your garbage disposal. Hot water works great for cleaning most things, but not your garbage disposal. Hot water can melt the food your disposal is trying to grind up, allowing the waste to cling to the sides.
- Do not grind fibrous foods like celery and onion skins. The fibers can wind around the blades causing the motor to jam, leading to a blocked drain.
- Do not pour grease down the drain. It can build up on the blades and inside the drain causing difficulty grinding or a clogged drain.
- Avoid putting potato peels in the garbage disposal because the starches may stick the blades together.
- Do not put pasta or rice down the drain. They will absorb water and possibly clog the drain.
- Avoid grinding bones.
- Avoid putting coffee grounds down the drain. While they won’t damage your garbage disposal, they can build up in the drain and cause a clog.
- Do not use bleach or drain cleaners. They can damage the garbage disposal blades and your pipes.
Garbage Disposal Repair
If your garbage disposal won’t start, reset your GFI outlet. If it still doesn’t work, it’s important to have the unit professionally inspected before trying to use it again. Continual use can burn the motor up. If your garbage disposal stops working correctly or starts making loud or unusual noises, get it checked out. Most disposal problems are minor and can be repaired quickly.
It’s easy for grease, fibrous foods, and metal to go down your garbage disposal and cause issues with its functionality, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be left without the convenience of this kitchen appliance. When you need service to repair your garbage disposal, our licensed plumbers are ready to find and fix the problem. Whether the fix is a repair or a new garbage disposal, we have fully-stocked trucks and the experience and training to get the job done in a timely manner.
Should You Repair or Replace Your Garbage Disposal?
Your disposal may just need a simple repair if the blades are loose or broken. However, you may need a new unit if the disposal has a larger issue like a motor that has burned out. Sometimes a repair can be close in cost to a new disposal. With our upfront pricing, there won’t be any surprises. Our plumber will assess the situation and let you know all the options available to you so that you can make an informed decision.