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.
After using the lowest cost disposers for over 20 years now, I find the newest models have not withstood regular use for more than 5 years. The older models had a blue housing where this next step-up model has a black housing which I am hoping for at least 5 years use. Our oldest (blue housing) disposers have lasted at least 5 years and some are now almost 20 years old.
Plug the disposal and fill up the sink with hot water and detergent. Unplug and run the disposal. The spinning disk forces the water down the drain like a pump. This should clear the disposal and the drain line. If not, you'll need to inspect the plumbing. Old pipes made of iron clog easily due to internal corrosion and should be replaced with copper.
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To be prepared, measure the distance from the outlet to the top of each disposal before you remove the old unit. If the new unit’s outlet is lower, you must also lower the tee that the discharge pipe connects to. Loosen the two nuts that connect the tee to the tailpiece above and the trap below. Try lowering the tee to see if the tailpiece is long enough. If it’s not, you’ll have to replace it with one that’s slightly longer.
Your old discharge tube probably won’t be the right length for your new disposal. If it’s too long, simply connect it to the disposal, mark it and cut it with a hacksaw for your garbage disposal installation. (Loosen the other pipe connections, if necessary, to insert the tube back into the tee.) If the old discharge tube is too short, you may have to make a time-wasting trip to the store. To avoid this, make sure the new garbage disposal installation kit includes a tube, or buy one separately at the same time for about $3.
As I have mentioned, garbage disposers for most people are just another kitchen appliance that we tend to take for granted, and this is one of the reasons I decided to bring this website to the internet. I have come across many customers over the years that only seem to notice this “gadget” when it goes wrong, and believe it or not, most of the time they go wrong is because they’re not cared for properly.
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).
If there is no item stuck in the blades of the disposal obtain the Allen wrench that should be attached to your disposal or that came with it. There is a breaker socket located on the bottom of most disposal brands. Place the Allen wrench in the breaker socket and turn it back and forth. By doing this you may be able to unlock the source of the problem. Just be certain that the disposal is not turned on when doing this.
Garbage disposals can range from $70 on the low end to $380 on the high end -- and generally speaking, you get what you pay for. A less expensive unit is likely to produce more noise, require more water, and clog more easily than a higher-end model. Likewise, a more expensive unit will be faster, quieter and less likely to malfunction than a lower end model -- and it will be lighter-weight and offer greater capacity as well. The average cost of a garbage disposal installation with a one-year manufacturer’'s warranty is $185. The average amount of time taken to install a garbage disposal, including cleanup, is three hours. The hourly cost for labor will range from $20 to $40 -- $28 on average.
If your garbage disposal is making a clicking or rattling sound, there may be some food particles that will not grind up inside. Remove power from disposer, reach into the sink hole with a pair of tongs and remove anything that is still down in the disposer. Test your disposer to be sure the noise is gone. If not continue troubleshooting your disposer issue (see below).