It’s Labor Day weekend and many of us are planning our last hurrah of summer. With backyard parties and other gatherings happening across the country, it’s important to be aware of one major potential pitfall – a broken garbage disposal.
A garbage disposal, also known as a garburator, is a great way to dispose of leftover food waste. They are very useful and durable, but sometimes you run into problems. Most of the time, however, the cause is due to neglect and overestimation of its abilities.
So, what are some of the causes of garbage disposal failure?
Garbage Disposal Problems & Solutions
Sometimes it is obvious why your garbage disposal is no longer working. Other times, the cause of the issue is a little harder to determine.
If you are experiencing any of these common garbage disposal problems, you will most likely need to have it repaired or replaced:
1. Unit won’t turn on
Before you pick up the phone to call a plumber, flip the garbage disposal off and make sure that it is plugged in, the breaker/fuse is on, and the outlet’s “reset” button hasn’t accidentally been pushed. Turn the disposal back on to see if it works. If not, then you may need to replace or repair the unit, as it has probably burnt out.
2. Jammed disposal
If your garbage disposal still won’t turn on, or if it makes a humming noise when activated, you may have something in there that’s jamming the blades. Simply turn the unit off (at the breaker box!), put on some gloves, and free the blades of the clog. The best way to prevent this from happening in the future is to be careful about what you put down the disposal. This includes:
- fats and oils
- starchy/stringy vegetables
- egg shells
- fruit pits
- large bones
- non-food items
- large amounts of anything
3. Slow draining
The garbage disposal should work very quickly and be able to grind up food and drain in a matter of seconds. If it is taking a while to break down the food, the blades could be extremely dull, or you could have a clog further down the pipe. Call a plumber to inspect your plumbing and to sharpen or replace the disposal’s blades.
4. Foul odors
There are a couple ways to freshen up your garbage disposal. One of the best ways to do this is by periodically putting some lemon/lime wedges and ice in your garbage disposal and running the cold water for 30 seconds. Another way is with baking soda and vinegar. But if you garbage disposal still stinks after trying everything, then it might be coming from further down the drain line or deeply embedded into the unit itself. Sometimes, the only way of solving your smelly disposal problem is by disassembling and cleaning the entire unit (call your plumber for this job). If that won’t work, you may just have to replace the device.
5. Grinding noises
If you hear metal on metal noises from your disposal unit, it’s either because there is something stuck, or the parts have started to move incorrectly. If you have determined there is nothing stuck in the disposal and the noise continues, call a plumbing professional for a garbage disposal tune-up. If the parts are too worn down, it may make more sense to replace it entirely.
Garbage disposal seals can sometimes leak, in which case, it is very easy to fix. Disposal leaks usually means an O-ring needs replacing or some parts need tightening. It all depends where the leak is coming from. If the leak is from the sink flange or somewhere else, you may need a more costly and complicated leak repair. Sometimes, replacing the unit makes more sense.
If something goes wrong with your garbage disposal, don’t take the risk of damaging it any further. Turn it off and wait until a professional has taken a look before using it again.
Luckily, if you have a new garbage disposal installed by a plumbing professional, it should last for a long time. Again, garbage disposals are very durable pieces of machinery – provided you take care of them properly.
Garbage Disposal Party Tips
If you are having a large gathering at your house, you may be able to avoid a disposal disaster by employing a few simple tips:
- Call a plumber before your party to inspect your plumbing.
- Remove any objects near your sink that could accidentally fall in.
- Instruct your guests to throw all food waste in the garbage (just in case).
- If you do use your garbage disposal during the party, designate one person to handle all of it.
- Deodorize the unit with some ice cubes and lemon wedges.
DIY Garbage Disposal Repair
If you are thinking about repairing your garbage disposal on your own, remember that sometimes it makes a lot more sense to replace the entire unit, especially if you have an older, lower-power model. We recommend trusting the professionals with garbage disposal repair and replacement, but you can certainly help maintain your unit with cleanings and unclogging.
Read this article to learn How to Clean a Garbage Disposal:
If your garbage disposal still won’t work or still smells awful, it can be extremely dangerous to try and repair it yourself. For professional garbage disposal maintenance, repair, and installation, trust the plumbing professionals at Gold Medal Service.
Don’t forget to take advantage of our exclusive discounts and savings.
Our technicians are background checked, drug tested, and trained in all makes and models of garbage disposals. We arrive in fully stocked trucks for quick and effective repairs. If you’re having a get together and you’re panicking about a broken garbage disposal, we can normally have it up an running in about an hour.
Call the professionals NJ homeowners trust the most at (732) 365-3199