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Serving the Olympia, WA area since 1994



Common Problems with Garbage Disposal Units

Monday, December 9th, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Garbage disposals are one of the best conveniences in modern kitchens, but with all the work that they need to do, they can occasionally malfunction. Here are a few problems with garbage disposals that we often encounter in our work. Call Brooks Plumbing when you need assistance with a malfunctioning garbage disposal unit. We handle all types of plumbing repair services in Tumwater, WA.

Before getting started, keep in mind The Golden Rule of Garbage Disposal Problems: Thou shalt never stick thy hand down into a garbage disposal. If you can’t solve the problem from outside the disposal unit, call a professional to handle the trouble.

Some common garbage disposal problems:

  • Clogs from grease, oil, and fat: You may have heard warnings to never pour liquid oil, grease, or fat down your kitchen drains. Unfortunately, people often misinterpret this advice to think that it does not apply to garbage disposals, because they are supposed to process food. But garbage disposals still link to a drain pipe, and so when those liquids cool and solidify into a waxy substance, they can still end up clogging the pipes. They can also jam the moving parts inside disposals, causing them to overwork and eventually trip their circuit breakers.
  • Jams from solid objects: Here’s a good rule of thumb for what should and should not go down a garbage disposal: If you can’t chew it, your garbage disposal can’t chew it either. Put food leftovers like animal bones into the garbage, not the disposal. The same goes for un-popped popcorn kernels. In general, avoid treating the garbage disposal like an actual garbage. Non-food waste products—like glass, metals, and paper—should never go down there, or else or disposal could end up with a serious jam that will require a professional plumber to repair it.
  • Leaks: If your disposal is an older unit, loose screws and corroded gaskets can cause it to start leaking. In some cases, a repair technician can refasten the unit, apply sealant, or replace the gaskets to stop the problem. However, if the unit is extremely old, it may be better to replace it entirely rather than making numerous repairs.
  • Disposal won’t run: First make sure that the unit hasn’t become unplugged. Then check the reset switch along the bottom of the unit to see if it has popped out. If you reset this and attempt to turn the disposal on again, and it still won’t run (only producing a humming noise until the reset switch pops out again) then the flywheel is stuck. Call a plumber to help you dislodge it—don’t put your hand down into the disposal to try to loosen it.

Although you may get through a few days without a disposal, it’s a major inconvenience, and it will also mean that food particles will start going down your regular sink, leading to it clogging. If you can’t figure out how to safely get your disposal working once more, call for plumbing experts. Brooks Plumbing can provide you with the right plumbing repair in Tumwater, WA.

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