Garbage Disposal Maintenance: How to Deal with Common Issues

Home Plumbing Troubleshooting

Garbage Disposal Maintenance: How to Deal with Common Issues

The garbage disposal is a modern-day convenience that makes cleaning up while cooking and after a meal a breeze. As wonderful as this kitchen appliance is it does have a tendency to act up every now and again, especially when it’s misused. A common misconception about garbage disposals is that they can grind up anything under the sun. In fact, garbage disposals aren’t meant to dispose of much other than small food scraps, a little at a time.

If you’re struggling with getting your garbage disposal working again, check out these tips for dealing with common problem.

Blades Won’t Turn

This is usually an indication that something is stuck in the blades. Turn off the power to the garbage disposal and use a flat head screwdriver to try and dislodge whatever is stuck in the blade. Keeping your kitchen counters clear of trash and other debris helps prevent this problem because it keeps things like bread ties and other items from getting stuck in the disposal.

Disposal Won’t Drain

First try turning on the garbage disposal and grinding up any leftover food. Sometimes you forget to turn on the garbage disposal after cleaning up from dinner. In the morning, when you turn on the water, it collects in the disposal. Turning on the disposal should take care of this problem.

If it doesn’t, then you have a clogged garbage disposal that needs plunged. Using a sink plunger, try dislodging the clog. Did it work? If not, call a plumber for professional drain cleaning services. Don’t use liquid drain cleaners. These are not good for your garbage disposal.

Disposal Won’t Turn On

Before you panic and think you need a new garbage disposal do the following:

Check the circuit breaker to make sure the circuit didn’t trip.

If the circuit is fine, look under the sink and locate the reset switch on the garbage disposal. This switch is usually red and located on the side or back of the unit. Following the instructions in your manual or on the unit to reset it.

Still not working? It’s possible that there is a loose wire or bad connection somewhere that’s affecting operations. However, garbage disposals don’t have a long lifespan like other plumbing appliances. If your garbage disposal is over 5 years old, it might be time to buy a new one.

Extending the Lifespan of Your Garbage Disposal

To get the most use out of your kitchen’s garbage disposal, consider the following tips:

  • Don’t put large amounts of food in it at one time. This eventually wears down the motor.
  • Keep oils, cooking fats, and grease out of the disposal.
  • Avoid disposing of fibrous foods like celery and banana peels.
  • Keep pasta and other food that hardens as it cools out of the disposal.
  • Have your disposal serviced once a year as part of preventive maintenance plumbing services.

If you’re experiencing problems with your home’s garbage disposal, don’t worry. Most problems are easily fixed.  Contact a licensed plumber to take a look.