Home Home Improvement 7 Telltale Signs Your Garbage Disposal Unit Is Not Working Properly

7 Telltale Signs Your Garbage Disposal Unit Is Not Working Properly

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Garbage disposals have an important role to play. Not only can they help that semi-solid waste down the drain, but they can actually help reduce the amount of waste in our landfills.

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Like any other appliance, however, your garbage disposal unit won’t last forever. The best way to get the most out of this handy piece of machinery is to maintain it as needed.

The good news is that your garbage disposal will “tell” you when it isn’t working right. All you need to do is keep an eye out for signs your garbage disposal needs repair.

What are some of those signs? Read on for seven clear signs that your garbage disposal unit isn’t working the way that it should.

1. Strange Sounds

Of course, there’s no such thing as a silent garbage disposal. When you run your garbage disposal system, it’s standard for it to produce a whirring sound followed by the gurgling sound of your pipes clearing.

However, if you start to notice unusual sounds, that should give you pause, especially if you’re hearing more “metallic” or electric sounds than normal. Turn off the garbage disposal and check it for obvious culprits like cutlery. If you can’t find anything, it’s time for professional assistance.

2. Frequent Resets

Most garbage disposal systems come equipped with a reset button. You can use this button when your garbage disposal experiences excess strain from a clog or when the power seems to disconnect from the system. However, you shouldn’t need to press the reset button every time you use your garbage disposal.

If your garbage disposal unit requires frequent resets, it could mean one of two things. The first is that the unit is on its last legs. The second is that you’ve got a short or loose wiring, which requires the help of a plumber or electrician.

3. Unexplained Clogs

We’ve all made the mistake of throwing something down the garbage disposal that doesn’t belong there. (While we’re talking about it, here’s a refresher on what not to put in a garbage disposal.) Things like potato peels and grains can easily cause a clog.

What about clogs that aren’t so easily explained? What if you’re putting only small amounts of acceptable food items into your garbage disposal and it still gums up the works? It may be time to replace a few worn-down components in your garbage disposal system or purchase a new system with a higher capacity.

4. Unpleasant Smells

If you’ve lived with a garbage disposal unit in your kitchen for long, you know the difference between normal smells and persistent ones. After rinsing wet food down the disposal, you may discover an unpleasant smell that responds well to a little bit of dish soap. What about smells that won’t dissipate no matter how hard you try to clean the unit?

When this occurs, you’ll want a plumber to come and take the unit apart and clean the individual components. As appealing as it may seem, avoid dumping chemical cleaners don’t your garbage disposal. Those cleaners can do more damage than good, causing your garbage disposal to rust or deteriorate.

5. Leaks Under the Sink

Garbage disposal units are connected to the rest of your sink’s standard plumbing in a few key spots. When the unit is first installed, those points of connection have a strong seal on them. This enables food particles and liquid to pass through the unit and into the pipes seamlessly.

Over time, however, those seals and the overall integrity of the unit can start to wear down. As a result, you might start to notice that water and other liquids are leaking. It might be a small drip beneath the sink or a more serious pool of water on the floor.

In some cases, replacing a few components will do the trick. However, your plumber may discover that it’s more cost-effective to replace the entire system if it has experienced a large amount of wear and tear.

6. Worsening Performance

A lot happens inside of a garbage disposal unit to make it function properly. One of the most important elements of your garbage disposal unit is the mechanized blade (or blades) that help to further break down food particles.

If you notice that it’s taking longer for your garbage disposal to clear, it could be that the blade is too dull to perform well. In some cases, you can have the blade sharpened to get your garbage disposal unit up to speed. In others, you may need to replace the entire system–which isn’t a bad thing, given that it usually takes years to reach this point of poor performance.

7. No Power

You flip the switch to your garbage disposal unit and nothing happens. You turn it on and it’s working fine–but cuts out on its own, before you’re finished with it. What does it mean if your garbage disposal keeps losing power?

First, check your circuit breaker box. It’s possible that the electrical connection is blown and needs to be manually reset.

If this doesn’t work, however, it could mean that the internal wiring has come loose or that the motor is failing. Either way, it’s time to call for professional help.

Your Garbage Disposal Unit Is Powerful–But It Needs Maintenance

Having a garbage disposal in your kitchen can change the way you interact with food waste. Learning how to use your garbage disposal unit the right way can even make a positive impact on the environment. However, it’s important to keep an eye out for these seven signs that your garbage disposal unit is in need of repairs.

Curious about the other ways that you can maintain a more eco-friendly household? Take a look around for more tips, guides, and news.

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