How Do I Know If My Garbage Disposal Is Good?

Damaged garbage disposal

Fixing a broken garbage disposal is the last thing you need on busy Saturday afternoon, and yet here you are with broken garbage disposal. Repairing one isn’t in your portfolio, but using one, you’re an expert. Is there something wrong with the garbage disposal, or is it an electrical issue? 

Ask yourself, “How do I know my garbage disposal is broken?”, then keep reading as we discuss the signs garbage disposal is broken and more, even a few tips on how to do your own garbage disposal repairs and when you need to call a professional. Believe it or not, a garbage disposals aren’t as complicated as you may think and knowing a few ways how to fix a garbage disposal is just a few words away here! 

We all want and expect reliable plumbing in our homes, like the garbage disposal. Of  all the appliances in our home, it seems the garbage disposal has the most basic job: Chew up food waste put in the drain and rinse it down the sewer line with water. Right? 

So, when that isn’t happening, is the garbage disposal kaput or is it possible for garbage disposal repair?  The following 5 situations are what will tell you that garbage disposal repair isn’t possible and it’s time for a new unit: 

  • Its Leaking: Any time there is a puddle of water under the sink or in the floor around the sink, it isn’t good news. Every year, American homes waste approximately ten thousand gallons of water because of leaking plumbing. So the first thing you should do is check the pipes under the sink for a water leak. If all the pipes look good, check the garbage disposal for any cracks on the outer casing. Once there are cracks in the unit, garbage disposal repair isn’t possible.
  • Slow Draining: If the garbage disposal has started draining slower and slower, it could be a clog in the P-trap. A garbage disposal can only grind up so much and fats, grease, and oils are three things it can’t. FOG as those 3 substances are referred to will only clog the disposal and the drain as they congeal. Unplug the garbage disposal unit from the electrical outlet (typically under the sink). Then reach inside to see if there is any foreign object that you can pull out. If there isn’t use the following to clear possible clogs further inside the unit and the pipes: Pour one-fourth cup of baking soda and half cup of vinegar in the garbage disposal drain. Let it sit for 15 to 30 minutes then pour boiling hot water in the drain followed by running hot water. You may need to repeat this process again. Now try the garbage disposal and if it still has a slow drain, or not draining, your attempt of garbage disposal repair didn’t work. Time to call a plumber. 
  • Unusual Noises?: Why is my disposal humming and not working? Any humming, rattling, or screeching sounds are a sign the unit may be beyond garbage disposal repair. However some sounds can be fixed, like metallic rattling, which is usually like a fork, knife, or spoon that accidently went down the drain.   A humming sound is typically something is hung up on the blades, like a dishcloth or paper towel. These are easy garbage disposal repairs done by removing the object. An unusual screeching sound  however is more mechanical caused and garbage disposal repair isn’t going to happen. That sound is usually the bearing,  flywheel, or motor is or is about to break. These are internal parts of the sealed up unit and not something for the unexperienced to attempt repairing. 
  • Foul Odors: When your garbage disposal has foul odors emitting from the unit, it could be nothing more than some food particles that didn’t wash down the drain. It could also mean that the garbage disposal unit is broken. Over time, food particles can get trapped around and under the blades, and after some time, the blades become stuck and can’t spin. Those food particles eventually will begin to smell and become embedded in the drain line and inside the garbage disposal. If the garbage disposal unit is 12 to 15 years old, it is time to replace it. 

Can I run the dishwasher if the garbage disposal is broken?

In most cases, yes, running the dishwasher is possible when the garbage disposal is broke. You’ll want to rake off any food in the trash before placing it in the dishwasher so that it doesn’t sit there and start smelling. 

How long does a typical garbage disposal last?

Most garbage disposals come with only a 1 year warranty. Why? Because manufacturers know they go through a lot of abuse, and they aren’t going to warranty the misuse of a unit.  Some good brands made with high quality (yes, expensive) garbage disposal will come with a 10 to 12 year warranty and last 15 years or longer when used properly. The average lifespan for a busy household is 8 to 10 years. 

The Common Question: “Can I replace a garbage disposal myself?”, and the answer is yes, you can with just a few basic household tools. Most garbage disposal units will come with instructions and there are multitudes of videos online that can walk you through the process step-by-step. Garbage disposal repair and replacement do not always require a professional plumber, however, there is a sense of peace when you do hire a plumber. Call (818) 975-2131 today for your garbage disposal repair in Sherman Oaks, CA.