An exterior shot of a kitchen sink

Garbage disposal is a great way to get rid of excess food waste. It’s installed under your kitchen sink, between the sink’s drain and trap. It breaks down food into small enough to pass through plumbing. Garbage disposals are particularly popular in the US, where about 50% of homes have them, compared to only 3% in Canada. Although they’re reliable and long-lasting, they can malfunction. We’ll break down a few of the common ones and how to deal with them:

1. Jammed Disposal

A man attempts to fix a clogged kitchen sinkIf you turn on your garbage disposal and it doesn’t work or you hear a humming sound, it may be because something is blocking the blades. If what’s blocking the blades is small enough, you might be able to free them. Just make sure to turn the garbage disposal off before you go in. However, in most circumstances, it’s best to seek professional help and call a plumbing service.

Usually, the garbage disposal shreds items very rapidly. A common issue is when it begins to drain slowly, meaning it takes a long time to break down food. This could mean that the blades are faulty, or there is clog deep in the pipe. In this instance, it’s best to let a plumber look and repair it.

Leftover food is responsible for 10–20% of waste in a household. Garbage disposals get rid of them. However, food that has been accumulated over time without disintegrating can cause problems. In the future, it would greatly help you to be careful about what you dispose of. Make sure what you’re putting down isn’t large, fatty, or a non-food item.

2. Foul Smells

Garbage disposals are infamous for propagating foul odors and left untouched they can stink up your entire house. The most probable culprit for these smells is excess food that hasn’t been washed down the drain.

A simple solution to this problem can be pouring down baking soda and vinegar into the unit. However, with time, the food can build up, and the rotting smell can become a chronic issue. This is mainly a problem with older garbage disposals. A garbage disposal unit should usually be replaced after ten years.

3. Garbage Disposal Leaks

Another common issue with garbage disposals is that they are liable to leak. There are three main areas garbage disposal can leak from: the top, the bottom, and the side.

If the garbage disposal is leaking from the top, the most likely reason is that the flange which connects the disposal to the sink has loosened or decayed over time. If this disposal is leaking from the sides, it’s most likely because there is a leak where the drain lines connect. Re-sealing the garbage disposal or the connection lines will most likely fix these issues.

However, if your garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom, it usually means that the seal inside the disposal has malfunctioned. In this case, you’ll need to replace your entire garbage disposal.

If you would like assistance with your garbage disposal, check out Pro Serve Plumbing. We are a reputable plumbing company and specialize in drainage and sewer repair in Forth Worth, TX.  Get in touch with us now to book your appointment.