The garbage disposal is one of the unsung heroes of your home, helps to grind up food before releasing it down the drain. Indeed, they’re often so reliable and effective that when problems arise, they can often catch you by surprise. Only a trained technician should try to fix a garbage disposal. It takes training and experience and laymen who attempt it can make the problem worse or even suffer injury themselves.
Luckily, problems with your garbage disposal are fairly easy to spot, and if you do, you can make moves to get it fixed quickly. Anything that doesn’t match the normal functioning of the system should be cause for concern. More specifically, look for any of the following signs that there is a problem with your garbage disposal:
- Leaks. A leak in your garbage disposal means that puddles may form in the space beneath the sink. Small leaks can also increase moisture on either side. Of the garbage disposal.
- Strange noises. The gears in the garbage disposal can grind if there’s a utensil or inappropriate food type in them. (it goes without saying that you should never put inappropriate foods like coffee grounds and meat bones in your system.) Odd noises can also arise from the motor if it’s malfunctioning, or any other issue with the situation.
- Low power levels. Low power levels mean the system won’t work as effectively as it could, as the disposal runs only partially or not at all. In some cases, the gears could be frozen or only partially freed from some obstruction. In other cases, there may be an electrical wire that’s frayed or loose. Either way, it’s going to affect the system’s ability to do its job.
- Clogs. Clogs can occur in the drain pipe to the sink, but they can also occur in the garbage disposal itself, especially if it’s not able to work through the food properly. If you encounter a clog in your kitchen sink, check the garbage disposal for obstructions, then run it to see if that corrects the issue. If it doesn’t, you may need a plumber to determine exactly where the source of the clog is
- The blades aren’t moving. Sometimes, you can hear the power turn on and the garbage disposal motor hum, but the blades themselves aren’t moving. This can involve a problem with the gears, and electric issue or a number of other problems.
- The system needs replacing. In some cases, it’s not just a single issue that merits the call, but a host of issues: some of them small and inconsequential on their own, but which can add up to serious trouble. In those cases, replacement probably works better than repairs.
Most garbage disposals have a red rest button on the bottom of them, which you should push at the first sign of any trouble., If that doesn’t fix the issue, unplug the garbage disposal and call in a repair service. (Never stick your hand down the garbage disposal while it is plugged in: it can result in serious injury.)