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Signs You’ve Got a Garbage Disposal Going Bad

rinsing-lettuce-kitchen-sinkA kitchen garbage disposal isn’t meant to last forever, although people often treat the ones in their homes as if they were immortal. We’ve written before about how you can take better care of your kitchen garbage disposal to avoid having to replace it years too early. Today we’re going to look at the inevitable point when you realize it’s time for a new disposal.

When you notice these signs below, call for our Burlington, VT, plumbing professionals. Our plumbers can help determine if you’ve got a dying garbage disposal and then get to work on putting in a new one that will last you for many years.


You should never ignore water leaks of any type under the kitchen sink, because it leads to expensive damage, the build-up of mold and mildew, high water bills, and it can attract insects and vermin. If you notice water leaks beneath the sink that seem to be coming directly from the garbage disposal, don’t just put a bucket underneath it! It probably needs to be replaced.

You Are Constantly Resetting It

The reset button on the bottom of the disposal is a breaker switch that pops out whenever the motor of the disposal draws on too much power. You’ll have to reset the button at least a few times during the service life of the unit. But you shouldn’t be resetting it regularly. If you’re doing this a few times a week, the disposal has worn down past the point of usefulness.

Regular Clogging

When you start to experience clogs in the disposal or the kitchen drain routinely, it’s warning you that the disposal isn’t effectively grinding down food waste. The disposal is supposed to make it easy for food particles to slide down the wastewater system. When the grind ring wears down too far, the disposal will send down larger food chunks into the sewer line, making clogs more common. When a disposal has worn down this far, it’s usually not worth the cost to repair it—have a new one put in.

It Won’t Turn On

No matter how often you flick the switch or press the reset button, the disposal won’t turn on or even make an electric humming noise. (The humming sound warns that the disposal has become jammed, which can often be repaired professionally.) Check the circuit breaker panel to make sure the one to the kitchen hasn’t tripped. If that’s not the problem, you may have a burnt-out disposal motor and the unit needs to be replaced.

It Rattles Violently

If a disposal was poorly installed so it’s loose, it will make a rattling sound when it runs. When you hear this sound from an older disposal, it means it’s starting to work loose or has broken parts inside it. Have a plumbing repair technician investigate to see if this is something that can be remedied, or if it’s better to install a new disposal.

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves Northwest Vermont and Northeast New York. Schedule kitchen plumbing services with us today.

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