Home ImprovementGarbage Disposals and Problems It Can Have

Garbage Disposals and Problems It Can Have

Garbage disposals are a great way to cut down on kitchen odors and save money by eliminating the need for trash bags. However, like any appliance, they can experience issues from time to time. 

If your disposal isn’t turning on when you flip the switch, start by making sure it’s plugged in and that the breaker or fuse isn’t flipped off. 

  1. Clogs 

Garbage disposals have a tough job but they can get jammed up with the wrong types of food. Bones, nut shells (including peanuts), corn husks, and large fruit pits are too hard for disposal blades to cut through and can damage the unit. Pouring grease down your kitchen drain is another big no-no; it clings to plumbing pipes both in your sink and those that lead away from your home. 

Even thin onion skins can cause problems because they tangle in disposal motors and block drains over time. Saving these table scraps for your compost pile is a good idea. Other no-nos include banana peels, eggshells (especially if they’re hard boiled), corn husks, and artichoke leaves. These fibrous materials can make your disposal work overtime and eventually wear out the motor. If you can’t fix a garbage disposal clog by pressing the reset button or jiggling the flywheel, use a hex wrench and pliers to remove the trap from underneath the sink for easier access. 

  1. Overheating 

Garbage disposals do fine when it comes to grinding up small bits of food, but certain hard foods can cause the blades to get stuck or even clog. They can also heat up from overusing them. 

Overheating can be a sign that something is wrong with the electrical wiring or a faulty motor, both of which require professional repair. To avoid this, always run cold water when using the disposal and only grind items it can handle. 

Stringy fibrous waste such as celery, asparagus and corn husks can wrap around the blades and prevent it from running smoothly, while meat bones and eggshells can dull and clog the disposal or drain pipes. A quick fix for this is to unplug the unit and wait several minutes, then push its reset button. You can also check if the circuit breaker to your disposal has tripped and flip it back on. This should also help the unit cool down. 

  1. Electrical Issues 

If your disposal isn’t turning on when you flip the switch or if the motor isn’t grinding waste, there may be an electrical problem. First, make sure that the power cord is actually plugged in and that it’s not a blown fuse. Then, if you can hear the disposal’s motor trying to turn but it’s not working, it could be because something is stuck in it or because of a broken motor.

The easiest solution for this is to press the disposal’s reset button, located underneath the sink. This will reset the unit’s built-in circuit breaker, which is designed to prevent the disposal from overworking and burning out. If this doesn’t fix it, run a batch of cold water down the drain while flipping the disposal switch on and off in short bursts to see if that helps. If not, there is likely a break in the wiring that will require a professional to fix. 

  1. Noise 

A garbage disposal motor consists of a metal plate or flywheel, shredding ring and other moving parts that work together to rip apart, grind and send food waste down the drain. If your unit is humming but not working, it might have a jam in the impeller or blades or solid objects lodged in the shredding ring. It could also have overheated and tripped the reset button on the outlet. 

Before you pick up the phone to call a plumber in Melbourne, first flip the breaker or fuse and check that the reset button on the unit is not pushed. It’s best to shut off the unit and use a voltage tester to make sure that the outlet has no power. Then, always get professional help especially when it comes to a plumbing related issue. 

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