Garbage disposals are a needed convenience for your household, especially if you hate clogged sinks and plumbing fixtures. No matter how carefully you are using yours (you can find few tips about that below), the useful life of the garbage disposal can be anywhere between 5 and 10 years.
How to know if you need a new one?
Garbage disposals are prone to problems and some of them can be fixed relatively quickly. Some types of garbage can clog the grinding chamber, preventing the water from draining out of the sink or even fully jam it to the point where the grinding plates can’t move. Caused by misuse, mechanical damage, electrical problem, or aging of the materials or fixtures, there are symptoms that will clearly tell you that it’s time to call a plumbing specialist:
- Garbage disposal is not working at all
- It’s making loud or unusual noises
- The kitchen sink is clogged and full of water
- The garbage disposal is leaking
Why call a pro?
Due to the nature of the garbage disposal, the repair or replacement should be done by a technician experienced in dealing with plumbing and electrical systems. Both need to be handled with care for the safe installation of your garbage disposal. Needless to say, you should not try any DIY tricks if you are not trained and licensed to do that. If the reset button doesn’t help, call a pro.
Besides being dangerous, attempts to fix it yourself may take you a whole day only to discover that your new garbage disposal is not compatible with your current fixtures or can’t fit the area under the sink. Some installations require additional parts or replacement of connectors, fittings or mounting hardware; leveling and securing that require equipment, planning and experience.
A professional plumber can also consult with you when choosing your new garbage disposal. Important criteria when buying a new one are: power options (we would recommend 3/4-hp instead of 1/2-hp), noise reduction, warranty period, price, material (aluminum or stainless steel), auto-reversing starts (reduces the chance of jamming), etc.
Tips: How to keep your garbage disposal working longer
Run the water before AND after turning on the garbage disposal to help it grind the food and flush it down the drain. Feed the disposal with small amounts of garbage at a time. Don’t try to grind:
- Non-food items like bones, plastic, wood or paper
- Fat, grease or oils
- Potato skins
- Pasta or rice
- Seeds and shells
- Meat or skin
- Fibrous foods like celery, bananas or similar