How often do you use your garbage disposal? If you prepare meals at home, you probably flip the switch on this handy in-sink device at least once a day. The disposal breaks food into small chunks, preventing pesky pieces of produce or noodles or leftovers from sticking in the drain. Disposals are a great way to quickly make those random bits of food disappear. Even if you show your Portland spirit by composting food scraps, a disposal still comes in handy because food always seems to fall into the sink.
If your disposal quits working as it should, your first instinct may be to stick something down the drain and probe around. Don’t do that. In particular, never stick your fingers in the disposal, whether the power is off or on. The blades are sharp and can injure even when they’re not moving. Jammed blades sometimes release suddenly when you jostle them, if your flesh is in the middle of the disposal, it’ll be a bad scene.
Garbage disposals can last for many years. If yours is fairly new, consider repairing it. But, there are times when it’s just better to throw in the towel and get a new one installed.
#1: It won’t turn on.
When you hit the switch and nothing happens, not even a faint whirring sound, push the reset button on the outlet or the unit itself. If that doesn’t fix the problem, check the circuit breaker or fuse. If it still doesn’t work, the disposal may have burned out. Get your plumber to check things out.
#2: It takes too long to break down food debris.
A garbage disposal that’s working well should only take a couple of seconds to break down food debris. If you’re finding that you’re running the disposal longer and longer every time to break it down, the blades may be dull, broken, or the machine may be worn down and need replacement.
#3: There’s water leaking from the system.
Sometimes leaks happen around the seals of the garbage disposal and those are easily fixed. But if there is a crack in the device, this means you’ll have to completely replace the unit.
#4: You have to reset the system every time you use it.
If you have to push the reset button every time the disposal is used, it may be wired incorrectly. A professional plumber can diagnose if it’s the wiring or the disposal itself that is not working correctly.
Don’t attempt to repair a garbage disposal yourself. Between the blades and the electricity, this seemingly simple device isn’t easy to repair.
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