Not only does a garbage disposal make kitchen clean up easier but when they break down food scraps and other debris, they also help you to avoid clogs, pests, and mold growth. This can protect your kitchen sink as well as your pipes, which is beneficial for your entire home. A garbage disposal can last up to 12 years if taken care of properly but eventually will need to be replaced.
Let’s go over some of the signs that your garbage disposal needs to be repaired or replaced.
1. Strange or Unusual Noises. Often times if your garbage disposal makes a strange noise, it is because a piece of silverware, or a bottle cap slipped into it without you noticing. Check to see if something has fallen down the drain and very carefully remove it. If you don’t see anything or it continues to make unusual noises after it is removed, then there is probably a mechanical problem with your disposal, and it may be time to replace it. While the humming noise coming from your disposal is normal if you hear it, but if it isn’t turning on and grinding up food then it’s probably a dead motor. While you could replace the motor it is probably more cost effective to get a new garbage disposal.
2. It Clogs Often. If you are only disposing of approved items, running water while using your disposal and for 20 seconds after and making sure you’re not doing too much at a time then you should not be experiencing clogs often. If you are it could mean that the blades are getting dull and can’t break down food which will lead to clogs in the disposal or possibly in your sink’s drainpipes. Another possibility is that your garbage disposal is too small for your needs. This means it may not have the horsepower for the amount of food you need it to break down. When getting a replacement, you may want to consider a bigger model. Similarly, if it seems like waste and water are taking a long time to run down the drain this could be a sign of clog.
3. Persistent Odors. With the combination of old food and water it’s not surprising that sometimes you may experience unpleasant odors. However, if you have tried to run your garbage disposal or clean it with ice cubes, baking soda, vinegar or other means and you are still experiencing these odors then there may be food, bacteria or mold trapped in your unit. It is not a good idea to use chemical cleaners in your disposal as they are hard on your plumbing and can damage your disposal. A plumbing technician can take apart your unit and clean it, however at this point it might be time to consider replacing it.
4. Leaking Water. Where the leak is coming from will help you to determine what is wrong with your garbage disposal. Leaks from the top could point to a damaged flange or putty seal where the unit connects to the drain, these can be replaced easily. A leak from the bottom typically means there are cracks on the inside of the unit. These occur from normal wear and tear over time. While some leaks can be repaired it’s more cost effective to replace your old garbage disposal with a new one. If leaks aren’t addressed, they could lead to mold, rust, and damage to other parts of your kitchen like your cabinets.
5. You Have to Keep Resetting It. Modern garbage disposals have a reset button on the bottom of the unit. This is typically used when you’ve put large amounts through the disposal, after a clog or after the motor trips the circuit breaker in your kitchen. If your garbage disposal is working well, you shouldn’t have to reset it often. If you do find you are having to reset it frequently then that is a sign your motor is on the way out and will need to be replaced. Another possibility is that there is loose wiring which a plumbing technician or electrician would need to resolve safely.
While it is not a sign that your garbage disposal needs to be replaced you may want to consider replacing it if you are remodeling your kitchen or replacing your sink or dishwasher, especially if your unit is over 10 years old.
To keep your garbage disposal working properly and to extend its life, be sure to care for it properly by cleaning it and remembering what should and should not be put down your disposal. Avoid eggshells, nuts, vegetables peels, fruit cores, grease, oil, and cooking fat.
Call HR Silicon Valley Plumbers today for garbage disposal repairs and replacements in San Jose and surrounding areas.