A garbage disposal is an indispensable appliance in your kitchen and will definitely cause you some major heartache if it goes out. A regular garbage disposal can work properly for about 10 years with proper maintenance to avoid possible issues than can turn to be a major inconvenience.
Some of the most common problems that you will face with your disposal are clogging, slow draining and leaking. Even solving these types of issues can be easier than you may imagine and there are several tips you might want to consider to avoid having to deal with them: Use cold water every time you use your garbage disposal, it is very important that you assure a good water flow so food remains get properly shredded. Avoid overfilling your disposal and using it to dispose of bones, glass or metal.
But if these preventive measures don’t get you free from any of the problems mentioned before, here are some repair tips that will help you through solving them. But before we get into fixing your disposer you need to know the golden rules:
- USING your bare hands to fix it is OFF LIMITS! Remember that flywheels are extremely dangerous and can cause a lot of damage even when your unit is off and unplugged. Always try to use tools that can help you get issues fixed without risking your own safety.
- Every time you have to fix your garbage disposer TURN IT OFF or unplugged if you feel safer. By doing this you are reducing unnecessary accident risks. By doing this you will prevent blades to turn on and cause some more severe damage to the unit and will be way more dangerous to fix it if it’s on.
Is your garbage disposal clogged?
The first thing you will notice when your disposer is jammed is that it will not shred any food remains your throw in your sink or it will be extremely noisy. Usually this type of problem is caused by un-shredded materials like glass, rubber, metal or even any type of bone you might have disposed of without noticing. Once you notice the clogging, the first thing you will need to do is unplug your disposer, making sure there is not energy source that can turn it back on.
The next step will be to remove the objects obstructing the blades, and you can do it in several ways: check if your unit has a special hex hole that can fit a hex wrench to force blades to turn clockwise until you feel they start to turn freely, which will mean you got rid of the material stuck in it. In case your disposer doesn’t allow you to use a hex wrench, you would want to try using a broom stick to unjam blades from the top of the disposer through the drain hole in your sink. You might also want to try identifying the material that is causing the clogging, and that way you can use a pair of tongs to remove it. Another way to unclog your garbage disposal can be by trying to turning your disposer on and off several times with an abundant water flow until you free all stuck items that may be causing the problem. This last tip might work, but if not you can always go back to alternative fixing procedures.
What if your Garbage Disposer is leaking?
Have you noticed that under your sink you start to feel moisture, or have you noticed small amounts of water under your sink? These questions might be very usual in a home, but is it an issue indicator? Definitely the answer is yes, it can be an indicator that you have a leak going on that has to be taken care of as soon as possible. This might be one of the easier issues you will be facing, as it might be caused by a superficial damage easy to detect. Turn your unit off and get under the sink, check if every plumb and bolt is adjusted correctly and pay attention to the way your disposal is installed to the sink. Once you have done it, you will be able to identify the leak source.
If the problem is related to bolts, re-adjust them and make sure they are fulfilling their duty by keeping connections tight. If the case on the other hand is caused by a loosen bolt, you can try to tighten connections between them to avoid any further complication. If your leak problem comes from the flange between your sink and your disposal, your best weapon will be plumbing putty, as you can use it to seal the union between the sink flange and the sink. Re-adjust the bolts and remove any extra putty surrounding the area you have worked in.
If your garbage disposal brings you additional issues you might want to ask for professional help or either get a replacement unit or have a professional repair. Take into consideration that most of the times extra repairs may be more costly than replacing your whole disposal unit in the long run. One of the best recommendations you must keep in mind is that the best way to safeguard your investment is prevention; so make sure everybody at home understand how a garbage disposal works and how to avoid possible damage. Reduce the risk of problems by increasing the maintenance tracking over your disposal to reduce the possibility of clogging, leaking and other issues.