Troubleshooting Your Garbage Disposal: Warning Signs Of A Failing Unit

Garbage disposal

Garbage disposal is a small appliance that keeps the sink and pipes clean and the kitchen odor-free. It shreds food waste and other debris to prevent issues like clogs, mold, and pests. Garbage disposals have an average life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, but they can fail sooner or later. It all depends on how well they are maintained. 

Like other home appliances, a garbage disposal experiences wear and tear due to constant use. When homeowners encounter a problem with their garbage disposal, they sometimes fail to comprehend whether the unit requires repair or a complete replacement. 

Let's discuss some of the common signs indicating that your garbage disposal is failing and when to call a professional plumber for a possible garbage disposal replacement.

Strange, unusual sounds

If your garbage disposal unit makes humming, grinding, or rattling noises indicates something wrong with the appliance. Sometimes, the machine makes unfamiliar noises when a foreign object like a spoon or glass falls inside the unit and obstructs its blade. Use a flashlight to check inside to rule out this possibility. Other culprits may include misaligned internal components, loose impellers, and a faulty motor. If the garbage disposal is old, call a plumber to inspect the unit for replacement needs.

Poor drainage

A slow draining sink is among the early signs of failing garbage disposal. Clogs in the disposal unit or deep down the pipe can cause the water to drain slowly. It is a symptom that the appliance is experiencing some problem. Try to fix the problem by plunging the drain. If using a plunger and other drain unclogging solutions do not work, schedule a professional visit to look into mechanical issues or a severe clog.

Lingering unpleasant odors

If your garbage disposal unit gives off foul odors, it demands immediate attention. Common culprits causing bad disposal smells include trapped food particles and mold. Usually, the stink goes away with a thorough cleaning. However, if the unpleasant smell persists, call a professional to look into the garbage disposal and remove the stuck particles. Consider replacing the unit if it is more than 12 years old when the smell does not go even after trying everything.

Water leakage

It is not unusual for old garbage disposals to develop cracks and leak water. Noticing puddles of water under the sink or drips from under the unit is a clear sign of a damaged garbage disposal unit. While leaks due to incorrect installation or pipes and joints are easy to fix, repairing leaking garbage disposal usually costs more than purchasing a new appliance.

Inefficient performance

The performance of garbage disposals declines as they age. Consider replacement if the unit:

  • Fails to shred food quickly and correctly

  • Clogs frequently take longer to drain

  • Turns off without any reason or does not turn on

Pressing the reset button too often

All garbage disposals have a reset button for occasional use. It helps the appliance recover from large clogs or after disposing of large loads. However, pressing the reset button regularly or with every use usually indicates that the appliance is at its end of life. 

Get professional help to address your garbage disposal concerns

It is best to consult a professional plumbing service if you notice any of the above signs. They can inspect your garbage disposal unit and replace the appliance if needed.

Edwards Plumbing LLC is a licensed and bonded family-owned plumbing team out of Gilbert Arizona, specializing in plumbing emergencies, repairs and renovations. We install and repair plumbing pipes, water heaters, water softeners, sump pumps, sewers, and more. Our competitive rates, honesty, experience serve residential and commercial customers. Call us at (480) 712-2081.