Garbage disposals are designed to shred food and other waste, keeping your kitchen pipes clean and clear of clogs and debris. Running your garbage disposal regularly cold water can help wash out any bits and particles that would otherwise block the piping beneath your kitchen sink. Of course, when your garbage disposal has problems, it can't do its job. Here are five ways to tell when it's time to replace your garbage disposal.
Because a garbage disposal has moving parts, any peculiar or new noises can be an indicator of a serious problem. Shine a flashlight down your drain to check for anything that may be blocking the unit. A sneaky piece of silverware or a small dish can easily result in unusual sounds from the unit. If you find something, carefully remove it and test the disposal. If you're not able to find anything and still hear abnormal sounds, it's time to call in a professional or consider a replacement.
Old food and waste are prone to bad odors, but through proper use of a functioning garbage disposal, this shouldn't be a problem. If odors persist even though you've thoroughly rinsed and ran your garbage disposal, there may be stubborn particles trapped in the unit that refuse to budge. In most instances, you can call out a professional to remove these trapped particles. However, if you're running an older disposal - 15 years or more - it may be time to swap it out.
When a garbage disposal won't turn on, there may be a serious problem with the unit itself. Start by pressing the reset button on the unit to see if that gets it going again. You can also check the circuit breaker in your home's electrical panel. If none of these troubleshooting methods resolve the issue, there's a good chance you'll need to call in someone to give it a serious look.
Nothing lasts forever. With garbage disposals, you'll usually be looking anywhere from eight to fifteen years before you'll need to replace the unit. Over time, the disposal may develop cracks or even spring a leak. When this happens, you'll likely need to replace the unit, as a repair wouldn't be worth your money.