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Is It Time to Replace My Garbage Disposal?

While you may not have used yours in a while, most homes and apartments come with a garbage disposal installed in the main kitchen sink. They’ve made our lives much simpler since we no longer have to clean out a nasty sink trap after washing the dishes. But, as is the case with any appliance, garbage disposals don’t last forever and even high-quality blades will wear out over time. When it’s time to replace your disposal, you’ll be looking at a job that requires a lot of plumbing experience and a little electrical installation as well.

Signs Your Garbage Disposal Needs Replacing

Failure to Start – Clearly, if your disposal won’t start then it’s time to replace it. Bear in mind that you should test the breaker to make sure it hasn’t simply tripped. You should also check the reset button on the disposal itself, as it may have tripped during operation.

Repeated Reset Trips – Keep in mind that constant tripping and regular resets are not normal for a disposal. There could be an electrical issue, or the blades could be so dull that they are jamming regularly and tripping to prevent motor burnout or other issues.

Long Run Times – If you have to run your disposal for long periods before it finishes breaking down food then your blades are likely too dull to process garbage properly. Alternatively, you’re sending things you shouldn’t be (we have a list of things you should never place in the disposal at the end).

Foul Odors You Can’t Remove – If your disposal smells terrible and common deodorizers and vinegar can’t seem to clear out the smell, then it’s likely food is trapped inside and isn’t being cleared properly. Your system may simply need a thorough cleaning or it may need to be replaced entirely.

Frequent Jams – If you can hear your disposal jamming up and having to strain to clear or grind up small bits of garbage and food, then it’s time to replace the disposal. Frequent jams are often a sign of a damaged blades or an aging motor. We recommend having a professional technician inspect the disposal so they can advise you on whether to replace or repair the disposal.

Loud Metal Grinding Noises – If your disposal sounds like it’s fighting itself, with metal-on-metal grinding, then it needs a tune-up or repair immediately. Don’t keep using the disposal or you’ll wear it out quickly. Call for a technician to repair the disposal or you’ll need to have it replaced soon.

Leaking Water – If you see water leaking out of a connection or seal, then a plumber is all you need to fix the leak. However, if water is leaking directly from the disposal due to a crack in the housing or disposal itself, then it’s definitely time to get a new disposal.

Never Put these 8 Things in Your Garbage Disposal

You can increase the lifespan of your disposal and prevent dull blades or broken motors by ensuring you only grind up soft, small foods. Avoid the following at all costs:

  • Fibrous Foods – Celery, corn husks, carrots, artichokes, asparagus, lettuce, onion skins and potato peels
  • Grease, Fats, and Oils
  • Egg Shells
  • Starches – Pasta, rice, potatoes, and beans
  • Non-Food Items
  • Fruit Pits
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Bones

When using the disposal always run water before, during, and after you operate the blades. Water lubricates and cools the grinders and blades and helps to keep food moving through the disposal. Keep the water warm if possible to help prevent any stray grease floating in the water from settling or hardening (never pour grease down the drain).