A garbage disposal is an essential appliance in any home. It is designed to quickly and efficiently break down food waste so it can be easily flushed down the drain. While most garbage disposals are easy to use and maintain, there are some important things you should know before installing them.
1. The Right Size: When choosing a garbage disposal, select the right size for your sink. Most sinks come with a specific hole size that the appropriate disposal size must match; otherwise, it won’t fit correctly and could cause damage.
2. Professional Installation: Garbage disposals should always be installed by a professional plumber who will ensure everything fits properly and works efficiently. They may also help advise on which type of disposal is best for your home.
3. Proper Operation: To keep the garbage disposal working properly, it is important to use cold water when grinding and avoid putting large food particles down the drain. It is also important to run the water before and after grinding to clear any remaining food particles.
4. Regular Maintenance: Like other plumbing fixtures, regular maintenance is required to ensure long garbage disposal life span. This can include running ice cubes through them periodically, using cleaning agents specifically designed for garbage disposals, or calling a professional plumber if you suspect an issue with the unit itself.
While most garbage disposals are built for longevity, it’s common to run into a few problems now and then. Here are some of the most common problems with garbage disposal and what you can do about them.
1. Jammed Blades: Garbage disposals can easily become jammed when large food particles are put down the drain. To unjam it, use an Allen wrench to manually turn the blades and ensure any lodged objects have been removed.
2. Clogged Drain: If your sink begins to back up after using the garbage disposal, there may be a clog in the pipes or drain. Try using a plunger or auger to break up the clog before calling a plumber for help.
3. Electrical Issues: In some cases, electrical issues may cause your garbage disposal to stop working. If this is the case, you should call an electrician to check for any wiring problems before having a plumber fix the issue.
4. Leaking: If your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom, a seal has likely worn out or been damaged over time. It’s best to call a plumber for this type of repair as they can identify and replace any seals that need replacing.
5. Strange Noise: If your garbage disposal is making a loud humming or grinding noise, it’s likely that something has become lodged in the blades. Again, use an Allen wrench to turn the blades and remove any obstructions manually.
6. Burning Smells: If your garbage disposal starts to emit a burning smell, it’s possible that something has been ground up and is now stuck in the unit. Use an Allen wrench to manually turn the blades and remove whatever is stuck.
7. Overheating: Another common problem with garbage disposals is when they start to overheat due to heavy use or built-up grease. To fix this issue, ensure you only use cold water when grinding and periodically run ice cubes through the unit to keep it cool.
8. Water Not Draining: If water is not draining properly from the sink after using the garbage disposal, there’s likely a blockage in the pipes or drain. Try using a plunger or auger to break up clogs before calling a plumber.
9. Blocked Motor: Over time, the motor of a garbage disposal can become blocked with food particles or other debris. To fix this issue, you should use an Allen wrench to manually turn the blades and ensure any lodged objects have been removed.
10. Odor Problems: If your kitchen starts to smell foul after using the garbage disposal, it’s likely that food particles are stuck in the unit itself or the pipes. Use a cleaning agent specifically designed for garbage disposal, or call a professional plumber for help getting rid of unpleasant odors.
11. Low Water Pressure: If the water pressure coming out of your garbage disposal seems weak, a blockage is likely preventing it from draining properly. Try using an auger to break up any clogs before calling a plumber.
12. Not Turning On: In some cases, the garbage disposal may not turn on due to electrical issues or a jammed blade. It’s best to call an electrician to check for any wiring problems and use an Allen wrench to turn the blades, if necessary, manually.
13. Loose Wires: If the electrical wires connected to your garbage disposal have come loose, you should ensure they are tightly secured before turning them back on. Otherwise, leave this type of repair to an electrician.
In conclusion, garbage disposals can be a convenient kitchen appliance—but they require regular maintenance and occasional repairs to keep them running smoothly. If you encounter any of the above problems with your garbage disposal, it’s best to consult a professional plumber for help. They can identify and fix any issues that may arise easily. Your garbage disposal should last for many years with proper care and maintenance.