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Garbage Disposals – Install, Repair or Replace

Benefits of Garbage Disposals

A garbage disposal, also known as a food waste disposer, can be a useful addition to a kitchen for several reasons:

  • Convenience: Garbage disposals offer a convenient way to dispose of food scraps and waste without the need to collect and throw them in the trash. This can save you time and reduce the amount of kitchen waste you need to manage.
  • Reduced Odors: Food scraps left in the trash can lead to unpleasant odors, especially in warm weather. Garbage disposals can help mitigate these odors by quickly grinding up food waste and flushing it down the drain.
  • Clog Prevention: Food scraps that go down the drain can contribute to clogs in plumbing pipes. Garbage disposal breaks food waste into smaller particles, reducing the likelihood of clogs in the kitchen plumbing.
  • Environmental Benefits: Reducing the amount of food waste in landfills is environmentally friendly.
  • Cleaner Kitchen: A garbage disposal system maintains a cleaner and more hygienic kitchen by eliminating
    food waste and reducing the attraction of pests like insects and rodents. Regular maintenance and proper
    garbage disposal repair will ensure your garbage disposal functions efficiently and safely.

Garbage Disposal Malfunctions

Garbage disposals are convenient kitchen appliances that help break down food waste and prevent it from clogging your kitchen drain. However, like any appliance, they can experience malfunctions. Here are some common garbage disposal problems:


  1. Clogs: Food particles, grease, or foreign objects can clog the discharge tube. This can lead to slow draining or complete blockage. It’s important to avoid putting items like bones, fruit pits, and fibrous materials (e.g., celery) down the disposal.
  2. Jamming: When foreign objects or excessive amounts of food become stuck in the disposal, it can jam the blades and prevent them from rotating. Jamming may cause a humming sound with no grinding action.
  3. Leaking: Leaks can occur in the disposal unit or the connections to the sink or drainpipes because of deteriorated seals, loose connections, or damage to the disposal.
  4. Foul Odors: Over time, food particles can become trapped in the disposal or the drainpipes, leading to unpleasant odors.
  5. Loud or Unusual Noises: If you hear loud or unusual noises coming from the disposal, it could indicate a foreign object, damaged blades, or loose components in the unit.
  6. Electrical Issues: Garbage disposals are electrically powered, and problems can occur with the electrical connections, such as loose wires or a faulty motor.
  7. Reset Button Popping Out: Garbage disposals have a reset button, which can pop out when the motor is overloaded.
  8. Slow Draining: A disposal that grinds slowly or doesn’t grind food waste effectively may indicate dull blades, clogs, or worn-out parts.
  9. Overloaded Circuit: If the disposal frequently trips the circuit breaker, it may be drawing too much power or have an electrical issue.
  10. Frequent Resets: If you find yourself needing to reset the disposal regularly or it keeps getting jammed, it may be a sign that the unit is too small for your needs, or it’s time for a replacement.

How to Address these Malfunctions

To address these issues, you can take several steps:

  • For minor clogs or jams, you can try using a disposal wrench or an Allen wrench to manually rotate the blades and clear the obstruction. Always turn off the power off first.

  • Regular cleaning and maintenance should keep your garbage disposal in good condition.

  • For more complex issues, call Guaranteed Plumbing or an appliance repair specialist.

  • In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace the garbage disposal unit, especially if it’s old and has multiple issues or if the cost of repairs is prohibitive.

Remember that safety is paramount when working on garbage disposals, especially for electrical or jam-related issues. Always disconnect power and follow safety guidelines when attempting any maintenance or repairs.

Should You Replace or Repair a Garbage Disposal

Whether you should repair or replace your old disposal unit depends on the severity of the problem, the age of the unit, and the cost of repairs. Here are some guidelines to help you make a decision:

Repair the Garbage Disposal

Repairing your garbage disposal unit makes sense under the following circumstances:

  • Minor Issues: If the problem with your garbage disposal is a simple fix, it may be cost-effective to fix it. Minor issues are often resolved with some basic tools and minimal expense.

  • Relatively New Unit: If your garbage disposal is relatively new and under warranty, repairing is a practical choice, as the warranty should cover the cost of parts and labor.

  • Relatively New Unit: If your garbage disposal is relatively new and under warranty, repairing is a practical choice, as the warranty should cover the cost of parts and labor.

  • Budget Constraints: If you’re on a tight budget and the repair is relatively inexpensive, opting for a repair can be a more affordable short-term solution.

Replace the Garbage Disposal

Sometimes the better option is to purchase and install a new disposal:

Severe Damage: If the disposal has suffered severe damage, such as a motor failure, a cracked housing, or significant rust or corrosion, it may be more cost-effective to replace it, especially if it’s an older unit.

Frequent Issues: If your garbage disposal frequently experiences problems, it might be a sign that the unit is at the end of its lifespan or is not suitable for your household’s needs. Replacing it with a more reliable model could be a better long-term solution.

Obsolete or Inefficient Model: Older garbage disposals may be less energy-efficient and may not have the features and performance of newer models. Replacing it with a more efficient model can save on energy costs.

Cost of Repairs: If the cost of repairing the disposal is close to or exceeds the cost of a new unit, it’s usually more practical to replace it. Repair costs can add up quickly, especially if multiple issues are present.

Upgrading Features: If you want to upgrade to a disposal with additional features, such as quieter operation or more powerful grinding capabilities, replacing the unit may be the way to go.

Changing Needs: If your household needs have changed, and you need a larger or more robust disposal, it makes sense to replace the unit with one that meets your new requirements.

Call Guaranteed Plumbing for Garbage Disposal Repairs and Installation

Before deciding to repair or replace a garbage disposal, consult with a professional plumber who can assess the condition of your current unit and offer recommendations. A plumber can help you determine whether the disposal is repairable or if replacement is the more practical and cost-effective solution.

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