Your garbage disposal is a useful appliance for limiting waste, keeping your kitchen clean, and your drain pipes flowing. A working garbage disposal will make doing the dishes a lot easier, and keep excess compost out of your kitchen trash, where it creates unwanted odors as it breaks down. However, many things can cause your garbage disposal to stop working correctly. Here are some signs that your garbage disposal is in need of servicing or replacement.
1. Frequent Clogs
Poor drainage, water backing up, or no grinding action may be signs that your machine is clogged, which can indicate potential problems. One typical issue too much food in the system, leaving no room for the blades to operate. However, it can also show that the blades are dull, or that they’re not spinning correctly. In the latter cases, you will need a licensed professional to examine your machine to determine whether the blades need replacement, or whether something is off in the gear housing, thus preventing the blades from turning.
Regardless of the condition of the motor or the blades, the clog requires attention. When processed (or unprocessed) food fails to drain away from the machine, it will eventually fill up with rotting food waste, which will compromise its effectiveness. This waste can cause an unpleasant odor and damage to the device as it becomes increasingly difficult for the blades to turn.
2. Leaking Water
Leaks are a severe problem for a garbage disposal for several reasons. Of course, water can cause significant damage to your home. However, the water in your garbage disposal will contain rotten food waste, which can be a health hazard, inviting bacteria, mold, and even pests into your kitchen.
Worse, being an electrical appliance, the disposal is at risk of sustaining water damage or shorting out. It can also send a current through the wet area, which is a safety hazard. Thankfully, these units are usually designed to contain electrical currents.
Nonetheless, if you discover a leak, you should contact a plumber or a trained mechanic to come out and fix your seals, and inspect your unit for other related issues. Hopefully, your leak will not have caused too much damage to your home. However, if it has, you’ll want a professional with a solid background in construction, specifically as it relates to mitigating damage caused by leaks. Without proper training, your expert may fail to locate and remove all the moisture, which can then result in mold growth, structural damage, or other serious problems.
3. Metal on Metal, or Grinding Sounds
If your disposal is making strange grinding noises, take notice. Such sounds are likely an indication that the gears are not accurately aligning as they turn, and the blades may not be cooperating either. If you hear such a disturbance, don’t use it! You might make the system worse. Contact a professional like BCPSI who knows how to service your specific machine. They will have the right parts, tools, and training to restore your disposal to its proper function.
4. Electrical Problems
If your unit fails to turn on, you may have damage to an electrical line, or to the motor. If the motor does not turn, then it could be damaged or jammed. A jam could either be in the blades (i.e., too much food, as described earlier), or in the motor itself, caused by gears that are out of alignment, or other problems. Either way, a licensed professional will be able to identify whether the problem is electrical or mechanical and provide the appropriate solution.
Always consult your unit’s user manual for diagnosing problems and proper operation. Once your disposal stops working, you should put a screen at the bottom of your sink to catch food particles, and a note next to the switch to remind yourself and others not to use it. If you have a leak, put a stopper in that sink and do not use it. Regardless of the issue, you should address it as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
A planned renovation or even a sink upgrade is a perfect time for revisiting your garbage disposal. Ask yourself: “Am I pleased with this machine and its performance? Is it reliable? Consistent? What could be better?” Your answers should help you in your search for a better product.
Once you begin to evaluate different models, consider product reviews by consumers and critics. A well-designed machine may be worth the investment and save you countless headaches in the future.