8 Signs of a Failing Garbage Disposal

A functioning garbage disposal helps keep your sink and pipes clean. But when problems arise with your disposal, the issues could impact the way you cook, wash up or keep your kitchen clean. While some garbage disposal problems respond to repairs, others require a full replacement. In this blog, we list eight indicators that you need a garbage disposal service and potentially a disposal replacement.

1. Abnormal Noises

If you’ve ever had a piece of silverware slip into your garbage disposal unnoticed, you know just how loud disposals can be. When a new noise occurs, especially any metal-sounding noise, use your hand and a light to check for an obvious source like a lost spoon. If there doesn’t seem to be anything blocking the blades, the disposal components may be misaligned so that they grind together when you run the appliance. In most cases, a quick adjustment can resolve the problem. It’s important to address new disposal noises as soon as possible because obstructions damage the motor.

2. Frequent Resets

The reset button on your garbage disposal is intended to help the appliance recover from unusual situations, like large loads or clogs. But if your garbage disposal is in good shape, you shouldn’t need to use the reset button very often. If you have to reset the disposal frequently, or even every time you switch it on, your garbage disposal maybe aging out. Another common cause of frequent resets is loose wiring which you will need a plumber or electrician to resolve safely.

3. Inexplicable Clogs

You know that you should wash food particles down the drain in small amounts to avoid clogging the garbage disposal. But if you start to notice that no matter how small your loads are they always seem to jam the appliance, the problem may not be with your cleaning habits. In some cases, clogs can indicate that you simply need a higher capacity model. In other situations, these clogs may indicate a malfunction in the device.

4. No Power

If your garbage disposal refuses to turn on or tends to shut off by itself while in use, check to see if the connected circuit has blown. If your electrical system seems to be working normally, schedule a garbage disposal inspection as soon as possible. Generally, these unexplained power issues indicate a failing motor. The motor may be on its last legs or may have blown out entirely.

5. Persistent Odors

Garbage disposal odors can be unpleasant since they usually stem from the breakdown of wet food. However, most of these smells should respond to gentle and thorough rinsing or cleaning. If nothing seems to help eliminate the odor, you may need professional help. Your plumber can take the appliance apart to find and remove any trapped particles that could be causing the issue. It’s important to note that you should not resort to chemical cleaners when working with your disposal. Not only are most drain cleaners too hard for your plumbing, all of these solvents can damage disposal blades and components.

6. Planned Renovation

While your disposal may not be strictly failing by the time you decide to remodel your kitchen or replace your sink, you should consider replacing this appliance during a renovation. An old disposal may not often the functionality you expect from a brand new kitchen. If you should especially consider replacing your disposal if it’s been at least a decade since your last renovation or garbage disposal installation project. Most disposals have a life expectancy of about 10 years, after which they may start clogging more often.

7. Poor Performance

Most loads should run through your disposal quickly. If it seems to take an excessive amount of time for your garbage disposal to break down food particles, the blades may need to be sharpened or replaced. In some cases, extensive blade deterioration may actually require replacement of the entire unit so be sure to have a professional assess the condition of the appliance.

8. Water Leaks

Over time, water may seep through some of the areas where your disposal connects to the rest of your plumbing system. Often, by the time a disposal becomes large enough to be noticeable, it will require full appliance replacement. These leaks may leave puddles under your sink, pool on the floor by your cabinet, or drip from under the garbage disposal itself. It’s easy to mistake a dishwasher or sink leak for a disposal leak so have a plumber find the cause of any leak that seems like it could be coming from your disposal. If you notice any combination of the signs listed above, contact your trusted plumber for a garbage disposal assessment. When you need help with a problem disposal, trust Magnolia Plumbing. We can provide the services you need as well recommendations for caring for your garbage disposal to prolong its function for the future.