You use your garbage disposal daily, but you may not think about it unless it stops working. The average disposal should last about 8 to 12 years before it needs to be replaced, if it’s used properly. Improper use or lack of maintenance, however, could shorten that lifespan considerably.
PROPER USE OF THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL
Some people take the name garbage disposal a little too literally. Although it is built to be durable, it is not designed for disposal of household items or large quantities of kitchen debris. A disposal is designed to cut soft foods into small pieces so it can be washed down the drain.
Items that should never go down the disposal include:
- Bones of any kind.
- Coffee grounds.
- Non-food items.
- Anything that’s stringy or fibrous – like celery, corn husks, or onion peels.
These items can dull blades, creating the need to repair or replace the disposal.
COMMON DISPOSAL PROBLEMS
Putting too much food into the disposal at one time can cause it to overheat. Most disposals have a fail-safe switch. When it overheats, the switch will cut the disposal off.
Even if you use your disposal properly, over time, you can begin to experience these common problems:
- Jamming or clogging caused by dull blades.
- The disposal runs slowly or won’t run at all. The most likely cause of this is either a jam from too much food, or the motor could be wearing out.
- Loud noises, a constant humming, or no noise at all could indicate there are problems with the motor as well.
- Rotten food odors indicate that food is not being cleared from the drain because the disposal is inefficient.
- Water accumulating under the sink from a leak in the hoses, a faulty seal, or a crack in the housing.
If you experience any of these problems, it’s time to consider whether to repair or replace the disposal. Once a disposal has been in use for about 8 years, problems can begin to occur and replacing the unit might be less expensive than repairing it repeatedly. Newer units may need a simple repair, such as replacing a hose or a seal.