How long does a typical garbage disposal last?
The garbage disposal isn’t a necessity, but it is a convenience that many of us felt we can’t do without, and when it is broken, we’re at a loss. Instead of choosing whether to put stuff in the garbage disposal or trash, we have to put it all in the trash, and that just seems wrong to many people.
As we were just saying for those who have a garbage disposal in their home, it is hard to imagine not having one. Most likely, you use it every day while cooking and preparing meals. Cleaning up the dinner dishes just automatically require using the garbage disposal, right? Unfortunately, a garbage disposal doesn’t last a lifetime. Like any kitchen appliance, it will wear out too.
So, how long does a garbage disposal last? Typically, the average life span of a garbage disposal is anywhere from eight years and as long as fifteen years. The older style garbage disposals won’t last as long as they do today, they’re made tougher now. It also will depend on how much you use it and what you put in it.
With good maintenance and not abusing the Garbage Disposal, you’ll be closer to that fifteen-year timeline. What kind of maintenance does a garbage disposal need? You’ll want to deodorize it from time to time with an approved garbage disposal cleaner. When we speak of abusing the Garbage Disposal, this mean you shouldn’t put certain things in it that can jam it, bend or break the blade, or worse, burn the motor out. Among the things you shouldn’t put down the Garbage Disposal are:
- Coffee grounds
- Metal, like silverware
How can you tell if the Garbage Disposal is broken?
Think the Garbage Disposal needs to be replaced? Or maybe repair will fix the problems you’re having? The following list of problems common with garbage disposals will tell you if it needs repair or replacing:
- Doesn’t Come On: If the Garbage Disposal doesn’t come on, you definitely have a problem, but maybe fixable by simply checking the circuit breaker that the garbage disposal runs from and reset it. If that doesn’t fix it, then yes, you should have it inspected by a professional contractor who will determine repair or replace.
- Frequently Resetting: If you are having to repeatedly reset the Garbage Disposal, the red button on the underside of the unit, there is a problem that needs to be addressed. A repair job could be enough by rewiring the unit, or if it is just worn out, replacement is your only option. Consult with a professional plumber to inspect the unit and advise.
- Not Breaking Down Food as Fast: If the Garbage Disposal isn’t doing its job of grinding up the food, it is likely worn out and needs to be replaced. Sometimes, it is just the blades have gotten dull and can be replaced. A professional plumber can inspect and advise the best way to go with this decision.
- Overheating: This can occur when you have a lot of dishes you’re washing, usually like a holiday dinner. The unit will overheat and shut off on its own. When this happens, turn the power off to it, wait fifteen minutes the turn back on.
- Leaking Water: When a garbage disposal is leaking, you’ll notice water under the sink. With a flashlight and a wrench tighten up all bolts you see. If it is still leaking, it may be around the canister and this would indicate the unit is worn out and needs to be replaced.
- Constant Bad Odor: Garbage disposals make our food waste disappear, so it only makes sense that it could stink, right? Think of it as your kitchen sink’s teeth, as your mouth’s teeth. Your teeth chew up food and if you don’t brush your teeth, you’ll have bad breath. Same with garbage disposal. There are things you can buy for this or you can try homemade remedies like grinding orange peel in the unit. Or pour a capful of bleach in the Garbage Disposal. However, if nothing seems to help rid the odor, your unit may have food particles in the crevices. If the unit is 8 to 10 years old or older, replacing it is your best option.
- Screeching Noise: Garbage disposals are not a quiet appliance, no matter what brand or level of quality. However, it should not make a screeching or shrill noise either. This could be caused by the grates shifting, or the motor has worn out. It is time for a replacement garbage disposal.
- Back-Up In the Sink: This requires plunging the sink to remove a clog from the pipes.
- Shuts Off With Other Appliances Running: Running the garbage disposal, dishwasher, blender, doing laundry, and other electric appliances at the same time can put an overload on the circuit breaker and shut off the disposal or other appliance. Reset the circuit breaker should fix it and turn some appliances off.
How can you tell if the Garbage Disposal is clogged?
- Check the instructions that came with the Garbage Disposal. If that doesn’t help, the following steps should do the trick.
- Turn off and disconnect the electrical power to the unit.
- Use a flashlight and see if you tell what is inside the disposal. Using tongs or pliers, pull out what is stuck in the blades.
- Wait fifteen minutes and once the unit has cooled, turn it back on, press the reset button, and try the unit.
- If didn’t clear the clog, try the following steps:
- Turn off and disconnect the electrical power to the unit.
- Insert a wooden handle from a broom, dowel, or spoon, in the drain opening.
- Push the wooden probe against the blades and rock the wooden handle back and forth.
- This should free the item and after letting the unit sit for fifteen minutes, turn the power back on, push the reset button, and try the unit again.
How do you unjam a garbage disposal?
A garbage disposal blocked can shut down the kitchen temporarily, and that’s not what you need in the middle of cooking a holiday meal! When a garbage disposal gets jammed, it will make a humming sound. Turn it off at the switch, make sure there is no electrical power on to the unit. With a flashlight and a pair of tongs, see if there is anything stuck inside the unit and pull it out. If nothing there, unplug the disposal under the sink and open the bottom of chamber, you should be able to see what is stuck in there and be able to pull it out.
Can I replace garbage disposal myself?
In most cases, yes, and the following steps can help you do that:
A new garbage disposal should come with all the parts needed for installation. Before you begin the install, pull the pieces out and familiarize yourself with them. This will make the installation easier.
- Every garbage disposal requires the dishwasher knockout to be removed before you can hang the unit. This is done with a hammer and screwdriver. Remove the piece so that it doesn’t get ground up in the disposal.
- Add the cord and plug now while access is easy.
- Garbage disposals weigh 12 to 15 pounds, so using a paint can or scraps of wood, stacked under the canister to support the garbage disposal while you work.
- This may be a surprise for you, but new garbage disposal will not come with the electrical cord or plug. If you’re replacing a unit, use it or you must buy a set.
- Next, connect a discharge tube, a kit that you can purchase where the cord, plug, and disposal are located.
- Install the flange to the new garbage disposal then snap add the new snap ring.
- Keep the new sink flange from shifting around, you’ll need somebody to press down on the sink to create a seal.
- Now rotate the lower mounting ring so that it tightens the seal where the disposal and the sink flange meet.
- The discharge tubes should be at a ¼ inch downhill slant to have proper drainage. If the outlet to the new unit is lower than the tee where the discharge pipe is connected and loosen the nuts that connect the tee and tailpiece. Lowering the tailpiece should fix this.
You can find several videos online with demonstrations and instructions on installing a new garbage disposal. Many home improvement stores have self-help classes where you can learn this with some hands-on experience. Call 551-257-6200 today for your garbage disposal repair needs in Saddle Brook, NJ.