Much like any other mechanical device, a garbage disposal also needs regular maintenance. Garbage disposals can have a wide range of problems. Some of these, like loose mounting screws, can be fixed yourself. However, if you have a more complicated problem like a major jam, you’re better off leaving it to the professionals. There is an element of danger involved when trying to fix a garbage disposal yourself. Objects might shoot out of the disposal, you can get electrocuted by faulty wiring or you might lose your fingers by sticking your hand down the drain.
Five Common Garbage Disposal Issues
Here are some of the most common problems that can occur with your garbage disposal:
- Loose mounting screws– Make sure your mounting screws are securely tightened, but don’t overtighten them. Garbage disposals have a tendency to vibrate when in use, and improperly installed mounting screws can cause the garbage disposal to jiggle around and make a lot of noise.
- Overloaded septic system– The main thing to remember when using a garbage disposal is that it uses the septic system much like your toilet does. If your septic system becomes overloaded, it can cause a backup, which can cause a nasty stench.
- Worn blades/motor– Though the blades and motor on your garbage disposal are quite sturdy, they will still wear out over time. This is especially true if you put a lot of material into the disposal at one time or put anything into the disposal that it isn’t designed to handle.
- Leaks– You will occasionally run into leaks in your garbage disposal. This is most commonly caused by a drain connection that isn’t properly secured or a gasket that isn’t making a good seal. However, if your garbage disposal leaks from the housing, it may be time to replace the disposal.
- Clogs/Jams– Some people treat their garbage disposals as though they were trash cans. These people will throw everything from chicken bones to orange peels down the drain. Eventually, this might cause a clog in the system or cause the system to jam, especially if grease or fatty foods are thrown down the disposal. Any clogs or jams must be manually cleared before the disposal can continue to be used safely. Do not try to clear the jam yourself by running the disposal or by putting your hands down the disposal. You can seriously hurt yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing.
- Increased noise– Although increased noise can be caused by something as simple as improperly tightened mounting screws, it can also be caused by objects or debris that has lodged inside the blades or deeper in the disposal housing.