Symptoms of a Garbage Disposal Problem and Likely Causes
The motor runs, but the waste is not going down the drain
The garbage disposal may have a clog
The motor makes a humming noise, but won’t grind waste
There is probably something jamming it
There is water pooling under the sink
This could be a leak coming from the garbage disposal
When you turn the switch on, it doesn’t make a sound at all
The garbage disposal could be overheating due to overfilling and tripped itself off. Try resetting the GFCI outlet and see if that 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.
Garbage Disposal Maintenance
Garbage disposal maintenance is quite simple, and most problems can be avoided.
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.
- Clean your garbage disposal and by pouring a little dish soap into it, turning on the cold water, and running it for about a minute. This will help keep odors away too.
- Prevent rust and corrosion by running your garbage disposal regularly This also keeps moving parts from freezing up, and food waste from building up.
- Turn the cold water all the way on 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.
Don’t do this:
- Never grind metal, plastic, glass, or paper products.
- Do not grind cigarette butts.
- Only use cold 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 make the blades stick together.
- Do not put pasta or rice down the drain. They will absorb water and possibly clog the drain.
- Avoid grinding bones.
- Try not to put coffee grounds down the drain. Thy won’t damage your garbage disposal, but they can build up in the drain and cause a clog.
- Do not use drain cleaners or bleach. They can damage the blades and your pipes.
Garbage Disposal Repair
If your garbage disposal won’t start, first try resetting your GFI outlet. If it still doesn’t work, it’s time to have the unit professionally inspected before attempting to use it again. Using an impaired garbage disposal can burn the motor up. If your garbage disposal stops working correctly or starts making loud or unusual noises, get it checked out. Many disposal problems are minor and can be repaired easily and 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.