Your garbage disposal should provide many years of service, but it may start to have trouble when it gets old or when parts malfunction. Here's a look at signs your garbage disposal needs repairs and how to decide between having repairs done and getting a new disposal.
Signs Your Garbage Disposal Needs Attention
If your garbage disposal starts making loud or odd noises, there might be trouble with the motor or blades. In addition to noises, you might notice a burning odor if the motor is overheating.
If it seems like your disposal isn't grinding up food as well as it once did, the motor may not be putting out enough power or the blades may not be as sharp as they once were. If food doesn't grind up well, food may stay in the disposal and cause a foul odor to waft out.
Your disposal might start leaking too, and the problem is often old, worn-out seals. Your unit may not start up, and if the problem isn't with the power supply, the disposal might be jammed. A garbage disposal can also suffer from clogging problems that cause it to drain out slowly.
Repairs That May Be Needed
When your disposal has trouble, you can try checking the circuit breaker and pushing the reset button on the disposal. If those actions don't solve the problem, call a plumber for help. The plumber will troubleshoot the disposal and then recommend the right action. If the problem can be fixed by replacing an inexpensive part, such as a seal, or if your disposal is just jammed or leaking, then repairs are a good option.
Since garbage disposals aren't too expensive, it may be better to simply replace the disposal rather than make repairs in some situations. Consider the cost of labor, which may work out about the same in both cases. That leaves you to compare the cost of the parts against the cost of a new unit while factoring in the age of your disposal.
Sometimes, repairs aren't even recommended, and in that case, getting a new disposal is your only option. Discuss the best way to approach the problem with your plumber so you don't spend a lot of money on repairing an old disposal, when buying a new one might cost more, but be a better use of your money.
Maintenance That May Prevent Future Problems
If you put coffee grounds or fibrous foods down the disposal, you may shorten its life. Read the owner's manual and follow the directions for the acceptable foods to put in your disposal. Also, read and follow the maintenance instructions so your disposal has a long life.
You may need to operate the unit every few days, even if it's just with cold water or grind up ice cubes occasionally to clean out the disposal. You can also buy products to cut grease that you may want to use on a regular basis to keep the disposal clean and free from odors.
For more information, contact a local plumber.