Plumber Beside Kitchen Sink - Plumbing in Wheat Ridge, CO

A garbage disposal is such a handy piece of kitchen equipment. It makes cleanup easier and more convenient, and eliminates the need to scrape food scraps into the trashcan where they can decompose and attract bacteria and pests. However, if you're used to using a garbage disposal, you may not realize just how much you depend on it until it stops working correctly. Take a look at some of the causes of three common garbage disposal problems

Your Garbage Disposal Is Jammed

One of the most common garbage disposal problems is that they can sometimes become jammed, leaving them unable to grind anything and causing your sink to back up into the bargain. This often happens because something that went down the garbage disposal previously clogged up the disposal.

While garbage disposals are efficient grinders, they have their limits, and there are certain things that shouldn't be put down the disposal. Fibrous material, like corn husks, celery, and onion peels can wrap around the teeth-like shredders that grind the food, preventing them from moving properly. Grease and oils can solidify over the shredders, blunting their edges.

Even egg shells can jam your garbage disposal. You may have heard that egg shells sharpen the shredders, but this is a myth. Egg shells have a membrane that can get wrapped around the shredders, preventing them from moving properly.

Your Garbage Disposal is Leaking

A leaky garbage disposal is not just inconvenient, it's unhygienic. The last thing you want is water mixed with ground food scraps leaking in your kitchen.

Different leaks have different causes. If your disposal is leaking from the top, it could just be that the putty that attaches the disposal to the sink has corroded and weakened. On the other hand, a leak on the side of the disposal is likely a problem with the drain lines. They may need to be replaced or tightened up. A leak from the bottom of the disposal probably indicates a broken seal inside the machine.

If you want to speed up the repair process, you can find the leak yourself so that you can tell the appliance technician where the water is coming from. Put a bucket under your disconnected garbage disposal and fill the sink about halfway with water. Add a few drops of food coloring, let the sink drain, and watch to see where the colored water leaks from.

Your Garbage Disposal Has No Power

What happens if you flip the switch and the garbage disposal doesn't even turn on, or if it shuts off mid-grind? This means that your garbage disposal isn't getting any power. Before you worry that something is wrong with your appliance, check your circuit breakers – if the one controlling the garbage disposal's power was tripped, you may be able to just reset it.

If it's not a circuit or fuse, then your next step should be to check the bottom of the device for a small button. This is the reset button, which will cut off the power to the motor when the motor gets too hot. This often happens when the disposal is jammed. Clear any blockages, give the motor time to cool down (you may need to wait about an hour) then push the button. This should restore power to the device.

If your disposal is getting too hot and shutting off frequently, it could be a sign that something is stuck somewhere inside the disposal, causing the motor to have to work too hard. The blockage may not be big enough to noticeably jam the disposal, but you still need a repair technician to remove it so that your motor doesn't become damaged.

It's important to practice safety when working with garbage disposals. Remember that you should never put your hand in a garbage disposal that isn't turned off, even if it appears to have no power. It could start up unexpectedly. Contact a good appliance repair service to repair your garbage disposal safely.