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Warning Signs of a Failing Garbage Disposal

It’s okay if you don’t think much about your garbage disposal on a daily basis. It’s an important functional item in your kitchen that you use almost every day without any trouble. But you need to know that your garbage disposal isn’t invincible. It’s not “the last garbage disposal you’ll ever need to buy.”

These appliances have powerful motors, experience friction, and go through plenty of wear over the years. Repairs can sometimes get a broken one back to work, but you’ll want to know several of the signs of a garbage disposal that’s ready for a full replacement.

#1. You need to frequently reset it

You’ll probably have had to reset your disposal at least once. The reset button on the bottom of the unit is an individual circuit breaker for the garbage disposal’s motor that will pop out if the unit begins to overheat from an obstruction or too much waste put into it. You should only need to hit reset once and not worry again. If you need to reset the disposal regularly—such as every time you use it—it may mean the unit is too worn down.

#2. You’re experiencing numerous kitchen sink clogs

The reason to have a garbage disposal is to allow you to put food waste into the drainage system rather than into the actual garbage. The disposal grinds the waste down into something the drains can handle. As a disposal wears down, it won’t grind as effectively, and this can start leading to a larger number of clogs in the sink or the disposal jamming even with normal amounts of waste going down into it.

#3. It takes too long to do its job

You may notice that you have to run the disposal for longer when you put a standard amount of waste down it. This can mean the grind ring is starting to wear down. (No, the “blades aren’t getting dull.” This is a misconception; disposals don’t have sharp blades; they have blunt impellers that hurl food waste into the outer grind ring.)

#4. It always smells bad

Bad odors from the disposal are usually easy to fix with some baking powder and vinegar. But when these basic solutions don’t solve the problem, you may have food waste trapped in parts of the disposal. This may be a repair issue, but it also could mean the disposal is decaying and will continue to allow food particles to get trapped. (Don’t use a chemical “drain cleaner” to try to solve this problem. These chemicals are highly acidic and can harm the disposal.)

#5. Leaking

Have you noticed water leaks and stains under the disposal? This can mean the unit itself is starting to leak, or the disposal is coming loose from the sink and pipes and water is escaping around it. If the disposal is loosening from the rest of the plumbing, it’s probably past the point where repairs are economical and you’ll need a plumber to install a new one. 

If you think you need a new garbage disposal in Burlington, VT, call our plumbers. We can handle all your kitchen plumbing needs, from repairs to new installations.

Red Rock Mechanical, LLC serves Northwest Vermont and Northeast New York. Call us for 24-hour emergency service.

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