Garbage disposals can often be repaired until they are damaged or too old. If you don’t know very much about them, you may not know when to replace it.
There are things you learn over time about the different mechanical systems in your home. When to replace the disposal is one of them. Being new to the world of home ownership is nothing to be ashamed of. We’ve all been there, including our expert Bloomington plumbers. So here are a few tips from our pros about garbage disposals.
Ask Yourself How Old Your Home Is
If you moved into an older home, the garbage disposal could be as old as the house but that is doubtful. More than likely, the garbage disposal has been replaced several times already. If your house is less than ten years old, the garbage disposal could be ready for replacement.
Watch For These Garbage Disposal Problems
- Frequent sink backups
- Metal grinding noises
- No function at all
- Deteriorating garbage disposer splash guard
- Burning smells
The most common reason a garbage disposer has to be replaced is a burned out motor. Take a look at the next tip to troubleshoot the disposal.
Do This Before Calling A Plumber
Push the reset button located under the garbage disposal. Sometimes the disposal will shut off if something gets stuck in the blades momentarily. Push the reset button and then try the disposal. If this does not work, check the breaker that serves the disposal. If no breakers are tripped, the motor is probably dead.
If the blades are just getting dull, put a couple of handfuls worth of ice down the drain, turn the water on, and then turn on the garbage disposal.
Troubleshooting Garbage Disposal Malfunction
If the garbage disposer frequently causes drain clogs and backups, the pipes may need to be cleared before anything else is done. The backups will happen more and more frequently if the garbage disposal blades are dull. They will also be bad if fat, oil, or grease of any kind is put down the kitchen drain.
How To Take Care Of Your New Garbage Disposal After Replacement
If the garbage disposal does have to be replaced, you’ll want to take care of the new one. They don’t really need any maintenance. But what you put down the drain matters in how well it does its job and how long it lasts. Here are a few things that don’t belong in the garbage disposal:
- Animal fat, cooked or not – congeals and causes clogs
- Grease of any kind – gets sticky and coats the pipes
- Oil of any kind, including in salad dressing
- Celery – the strings get tied around the blades
- Chemicals – corrodes the pipes and connections
- Potato peels – too heavy to be chopped finely enough to float away
- Eggshells – too heavy
Every sink with a garbage disposal has a plumbing trap. We find all kinds of things in the trap that people put down the drain. Take care of your garbage disposal and it will serve you well for as long as it lasts, on average from 7 to 12 years depending on the quality.