Replacing a failed garbage disposer can seem daunting. There's the usual trepidation about electricity and water, the unfamiliar sink connection and enough drain fittings to make leaks a real possibility. Then there are the hassles of comparison shopping and the suspicion that the job could run into real money. And finally, failed disposers don't often leak, at least not in the beginning, so it's easy to put things off.
Badger Series garbage disposals are the choice of homeowners looking for hard-working helpers in the kitchen that are as tough on food waste as they are easy on the wallet. The value and price is unbeatable. A powerful, 1/2 HP Dura-Drive motor powers the Badger 5 through your food waste including: vegetables, fruits, leftovers, egg shells, celery stalks, and small bones.
The good news is that a leaking gasket can be easily replaced. Most home improvement or local hardware stores will carry them, and they are usually inexpensive. However, depending on the particular model of your garbage disposal, it may require a specially fitted rubber gasket. To ensure that you get the right gasket the first time, write down your garbage disposal’s model number, take it to the store, and ask an employee to match it up for you.
Disposals can leak at a couple different places. Start by turning off the disposal at its base. Then, find the disposal mount and remove the unit by turning it counterclockwise from the bottom. Once the disposal has been removed from the mount, you should be able to see the three mounting bolts. Tighten these bolts to make sure they’re not leaking.
One result is larger amounts of solid residue from the waste-water treatment process. According to a study at the East Bay Municipal Utility District’s wastewater treatment plant funded by the EPA, food waste produces three times the biogas as compared to municipal sewage sludge. The value of the biogas produced from anaerobic digestion of food waste appears to exceed the cost of processing the food waste and disposing of the residual biosolids (based on a LAX Airport proposal to divert 8,000 tons/year of bulk food waste).
To remove the gasket and replace it you will first have to disconnect the drain and unplug the cord to the garbage disposal. Also, if you have a dishwasher you will have to remove the dishwasher drain hose from the garbage disposal. With the drains and cord removed you can now take hold of the sides of the mounting nut and twist it counter clockwise to unlock the garbage disposal. The disposal should drop straight down.
InSinkErator garbage disposals provide a convenient and environmentally-conscious alternative to sending leftovers to landfills. Capable wastewater treatment plants can even recycle food scraps into energy and fertilizer. Plus, using garbage disposals can significantly reduce the amount of trash sent to landfills and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
FYI: I don't believe ISE is using the same quality metal causing these newer models to rust out quicker but, in my recent experience, I found that people who use their disposer properly will get at least 5 years service...that is acceptable for my purposes in the apartments. I did have 2 ISE disposers that only lasted about 2 years. One was from a tenant who almost never used it and allowed it to rust extensively and corrode from non-use. Using it helps keep it clean too. The second one, I determined was not being used properly, i.e., the tenant was not running water before turning on disposer causing food debris to accumulate in the small chamber below the blades/masticator.
Flange: The flange is the uppermost portion of the garbage disposal, where the disposal and the sink drain meet. The flange can develop a leak for a variety of reasons. Check that all the mounting bolts, typically there are three, are tight enough. Snug the bolts up with a wrench if you see water dripping from any of the bolts, being careful not to overtighten the bolts.A second reason the flange may leak is if the seal, made of “plumber’s putty,” has failed. You will need to loosen the retaining bolts until you can see a gap around the flange. Force enough new putty in the gap, between the flange and the drain pipe, to fill in all the space. Tighten the retaining bolts.
Typically, garbage disposals usually last anywhere from 5 to 10 years. Well manufactured units may even last longer than that. If you’re really looking to save some money, you can always disconnect your unit, dissect it, seal the crack and reattach it. However, this is just a temporary fix. If you have the money, it’s best just to invest in a new unit.
Most garbage disposals are sealed using plumber’s putty. You’ll need to detach the garbage disposal, clean off the old putty and reseal. Other types of disposals use only a flange that is tightened and compressed with screws. This may need to be replaced. Either way, this can be a big job if you don’t know what you’re doing (requires removing and replacing drain pipes, as well).
Should your disposal suddenly cease to work, check its overload protection. A red button on the bottom of the disposal trips when the disposal becomes jammed or overloaded to prevent damage and motor burnout. Unplug the disposal, push the button and remove the jam. Some high-end models can sense a jam and will automatically reverse the direction of the blades.
The majority of today’s garbage disposals are designed to dovetail with a sink’s drain outlet, which makes connecting the two components simple. There are a multitude of connection kits and adaptors available. Many models feature a power cord that is simply plugged into a nearby outlet to power the unit; however, when an outlet is not available, the unit must be hardwired, which can be significantly more expensive.
Horsepower Ratings – Even garbage disposals that have a basic ½ HP motor are more than capable of handling softer waste and bones; however, if your kitchen’s food waste routinely includes bones, cores, and harder vegetables, like carrots or avocados, then you need to look for a garbage disposal with a 1 HP (or higher) motor. A more powerful motor will be able to grind hard waste finer and faster, which reduces your chances of developing clogged pipes.
Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.