One of the handiest, convenient kitchen appliances is a garbage disposal. If used properly, the garbage disposal will grind down your food debris into small particles, so they do not get trapped in your drain pipes. The garbage disposal also cuts down on debris sent to rot in landfills, and most new homes come with these handy appliances already installed. Read on to discover common issues with garbage disposals and how to solve them!

Common Problems with Garbage Disposals

The name ‘disposal’ might confuse some homeowners as they think of their garbage disposals as trash cans. The garbage disposal appliance is designed to handle a limited range of foods, and many should not be put down into them. Some of the common problems with garbage disposals come from people putting the wrong foods into them, such as:

  • Starchy foods, like beans, rice, and pasta
  • Fats like butter, grease, cooking oil, and heavy sauces
  • Hard materials such as eggshells, seafood shells, and bones
  • Fibrous foods including carrots, celery, banana peels, and potato peels
  • Non-liquid foods or solids like glass, solvents, and paint

Putting these types of materials down your garbage disposal and how you operate it all play a part in the most common issues people run into with these appliances. The cold water should be running down the drain before starting the unit and should continue running while the disposal is operating.

The water should always be cold, as this will coagulate any grease and allow it to run through your pipes. Hot water will thin the grease and then allow it to build up in your pipes.

Another common issue that affects garbage disposals is putting too much food or too large of food items down into them. You want to gradually feed small amounts of foods into the disposal, and then allow water to continue running about twenty seconds after it is turned off. Not running sufficient water through the appliance could cause food debris to get trapped in your pipes, leading to odors and clogged pipes.

3 Common Garbage Disposal Issues

The three most common garbage disposal issues that can occur should be fixed right away to prevent plumbing issues and save your disposal.

  1. Jams– If your disposal stops grinding and the motor makes a loud humming sound, this indicates the inner flywheel is jammed. This issue usually occurs if you put too much food waste into the appliance or put the wrong type of food into it. Fixing this type of problem involves dislodging whatever has stopped the flywheel. The experts at B&L Plumbing Service have the experience and tools needed to solve this issue.
  2. Clogs– Clogs are usually the result of the food you’ve ground up reacting to water or a lack of water. If you do not use a sufficient amount of water to clear out the disposal and pipes after grinding, a clog can develop. A clog can develop over time and be an accumulation of different foods. You should never use a chemical drain cleaner if this occurs as it can corrode the metallic components of your disposal. B&L Plumbing Service is able to address these clogs and ensure your disposal and drain pipes are cleared out and ready to use quickly.
  3. Odors– It can be incredibly unappetizing and annoying if your garbage disposal begins to emit an odor. It can happen if there has not been enough water used to flush through your disposal while you perform the grinding. There are a few solutions to this issue, such as flushing it with vinegar and baking soda or send a sinkful of soapy dishwater down through to flush the unit. If these do not get rid of the odor, contact B&L Plumbing Service to see if other issues are causing the smells.

For most homeowners, it is a good idea to leave replacements and repairs of garbage disposals to the professionals. A qualified plumber is able to diagnose and perform the right solution safely and quickly.

Where to Learn More About Garbage Disposal Issues

B&L Plumbing Service is your residential plumbing solution if you live in the Kansas City Metro Area in Missouri or Kansas. Homeowners and business owners have relied on our services for more than 20 years. Our excellent, experienced service can solve all your plumbing needs, including common issues with garbage disposals including repair or replacement. Contact our specialists today if you have any plumbing issues in your home or business.