A foul or foreign odor emanating from the garbage disposal that won’t go away no matter how thoroughly you have rinsed it, may also be a sign that it’s time to replace it. As the components in the grinding chamber wear out and the blades get duller and duller, food can easily get trapped inside and start to decompose. You may never have noticed the smell or have chosen to adapt and wait it out, but it may be a sign of a deeper problem. Visiting family members and dinner guests probably wouldn’t appreciate it very much, either.
IMPORTANT: Whenever you are working on your garbage disposal, inserting items, and/or inserting body parts into your garbage disposal unit, it should be UNPLUGGED and the POWER TO THE GARBAGE DISPOSAL UNIT SHOULD BE OFF! Failing to do so will put you at risk of SERIOUS INJURY. Also, if possible avoid placing your hands directly near the blades at the disposal. If you can, instead use a tool to wedge out items or check the blades for blockage.
You can buy a 1/3-hp disposal for $80 or less, but our experts suggest that a more expensive unit with at least 3/4 hp would be a better choice. The more powerful the motor, the less chance it will jam. In addition, higher-priced disposals are generally quieter and have longer warranties. If you need to replace the splash guard guard as part of your garbage disposal installation, take a look at this guide.
This part of the installation starts by removing the old mounting ring by loosening the mounting screws and then removing the snap ring, which holds the mounting assembly on the sink flange. You’ll need to use a flathead screwdriver to remove the snap ring. Next, remove the mounting ring by inserting the screwdriver into the tabs and turning the mounting ring assembly until it is free from the tabs. Be sure to support the bottom of the disposer as you do this. After this comes off, the entire mounting assembly will come free from the sink flange. Once free, pull the sink flange out from the top of the sink and scrape or wipe any old putty off the sink before wiping it clean with a towel.
Look for a jam. Something too tough to grind, such as a piece of glass, could be jamming the motor. Turn off the power and water, then unplug the disposal. (If it’s hardwired, turn off the breaker.) Remove the rubber baffle inside the drain-most just lift out-and shine a flashlight into the hole. Fish out the obstruction with a pair of tongs or needle-nose pliers.
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There is a contradiction among some of the brands. InSinkErator’s disposal instruction manual states, “Don’t grind large amounts of egg shells or fibrous materials like corn husks, artichokes, etc, to avoid possible drain blockage.” Whirlpool’s disposal instruction manual states, “designed to dispose of food wastes including bones, fruit and vegetable wastes, pits, egg shells and coffee grounds.”
Update: As an aside, I also learned from my research that the best way to clean my disposal is to use citric acid. Having previously had no idea what citric acid was used for, I decided to order some from Amazon, going with the brand my sister uses: Citric Acid Powder - Ultra Fine Pure Powdered Crystals - Natural Preservative Food Grade Quality (16 oz) and gave it a whirl after 3 months of using my disposal. I let the citric acid sit with some water in the disposal for about ten minutes, and then I let it run for a solid 2 minutes. I repeated the procedure a few times and after about 30 minutes—wow, all the leftover gunk and food was flushed out of the disposal, leaving it clean with a very mild citrus scent. I feel like I’m becoming a real DIY at home kind of guy.
Reattach the electrical wires. Unscrew the faceplate on the underside of the new unit. Match the colored wires on the power supply to those in the disposal’s electric housing and connect them using plastic wire nuts. Slip the copper grounding wire over the green screw at the far edge of the compartment. Replace the cover and tighten the screws.
If your garbage disposal just won’t turn at all, then it’s very likely that the disposal has lost power. Your unit may have blown a circuit, or it could be unplugged. First, check the plug for your garbage disposal to ensure that it’s secure. Next, locate the reset button on the underside of the unit, and push it. If neither of these things fixes the problem, look inside your electrical panel for signs of a tripped circuit.