Signs Your Garbage Disposal May Be Failing

We rely on our garbage disposals almost everyday. From food scraps to fruit peels, cooking becomes easier when we allow things to fall down the drain. Over time, these pieces will take their toll. While there are things you can do to prevent long term damage, sometimes it’s okay to call in the pros. No need to go putting your fingers down the disposal just yet. Here are some signs your garbage disposal may be failing and what can be done.

Garbage Disposal Overheating; Not Even A Hum?

If you flip on the switch, but your garbage disposal remains noiseless, not even a hum, it may have overheated and tripped itself off. Each unit typically comes with a red overload protector button. In cases of overheating, longtime use, or a clog, the disposal will shut down automatically and needs to be reset. If that doesn’t work, make sure the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped and turned off in the electrical service panel. If that is still not working, it may be time to give us a call.

A Leaky Garbage Disposal

There are three common places from which a garbage disposal leaks:

  1. Sometimes a garbage disposal leaks because the plumbers putty (which connects your garbage disposal to your sink) could be faulty or corroded and in need of replacement. It requires detaching and removing drainpipes, requiring a professional’s handy work.

  2. If your garbage disposal is leaking out of the bottom, the most likely cause are the worn out seals within the actual garbage disposal itself. While this problem is repairable, we recommend giving us a call. Internal problems may mean the end of the life of your current disposal!

  3. You should be able to see two connections on the side of your garbage disposal. The smaller hose is where your dishwasher drains into the disposal. The larger pipe coming out lower down is the drain out of the disposal to your sewer. Loose connections will cause a leak, but a quick tightening will fix it up. However, a professional should handle a bigger issue.

Slow Drainage

A slow draining disposal could usually mean a major clog is blocking up your pipes. If the usual baking soda and vinegar trick doesn’t work, you may have an issue requiring our skills to help. Please be aware, we never recommend using chemical drain cleaners as a DIY method. As a chemical, they are inherently dangerous to use. They are corrosive and could inflict damage to your pipes and to yourself if poorly handled.

A Jam (And Not the Good Kind)

If you go to turn on your garbage disposal and hear a low hum, but no movement, you know there’s a jam. Immediately turn it off to begin resolving the problem. Unjamming your blade could be as easy as removing the obstruction with a pair of tongs (remember to never put your hand down a garbage disposal). Sometimes you may need an allen wrench to reset the flywheel in order to release it. Some blockages are more intense and professional help may be required.

Smelly Garbage Disposal

A successfully unjammed flywheel may seem to be doing the job, but once they’ve been exposed to damage, they may not be eliminating key food pieces. Once food becomes trapped in the disposal, the bad smell begins to linger. Try putting lemon peels (never wedges) through to help relieve the smell. If the smell returns, it may mean your leftovers aren’t being correctly chopped. Food that gets stuck begins to decompose, becoming an unwelcome smell in your kitchen. It is trying to tell you something. We know how to permanently resolve the problem.

Keep in mind to never put fibrous foods, pasta, coffee grounds, eggshells, bones, glass, rubber or metal in your garbage disposal. Don’t overfill your garbage disposal and be sure that you never use chemical drain cleaners to unclog it. Remember to always run cold water while in use. Have a drain strainer to avoid blockage. If items get stuck in the unit for too long and your sink begins to stink, make it smell better by grinding up a small lemon peel with ice cubes while running warm water.

Still not sure if your garbage disposal may be failing?  Give us a call today.