Modern garbage disposal units connect to dishwasher drainpipes. This enables dishwashers to expel leftover food scraps and residue that would otherwise accumulate in the dishwasher unit. A common source of leaks is the area where your dishwasher and garbage disposal connect. These leaks most often occur when the hose’s clamp is not secure enough and when the dishwasher hose cracks. To fix this issue, simply replace the cracked section of the hose or tighten the clamp.
Some other kinds of garbage disposal units are powered by water pressure, rather than electricity. Instead of the turntable and grind ring described above, this alternative design has a water-powered unit with an oscillating piston with blades attached to chop the waste into fine pieces. Because of this cutting action, they can handle fibrous waste. Water-powered units take longer than electric ones for a given amount of waste and need fairly high water pressure to function properly.
Garbage disposals are fairly straightforward machines. When something goes wrong with your garbage disposal, there are aren’t very many things you can do to troubleshoot your unit. This makes repairing your broken garbage disposal a relatively simple task. If your garbage disposal has broken, you can follow these tips to attempt to repair your unit.
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.
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.
Most plumbing problems associated with holiday parties are caused by improper plumbing maintenance and overestimations of your plumbing system’s abilities. Although it’s best if you have a professional plumber inspect your system before any large gathering, many plumbing problems can be prevented with a little knowledge and preparation before the big day. Remember, the best offense is a good defense. Schedule annual plumbing maintenance to keep your entire plumbing system healthy and efficient. Current problems will be addressed and future problems will be detected.
There you have it. If you have questions about this or any other home improvement project, be sure to read our list of Frequently Asked Questions for this video. And be sure to print out our Project Instructions, which includes a Tools and Materials checklist, before visiting your local independent home improvement retailer. That’s where you’ll find all the products and helpful advice to complete your project. If you’re not sure where to find your local store, check out our Store Locator.
When something blocks your disposal unit’s flywheel, you will start hearing a low humming sound, and you know you’ve got a jam. Un-jamming a garbage disposal is something that depends on the specific unit you own. Every single one has a function to shut off when they are stuck to the point of stalling the motor. This is so the motor doesn’t burn out. However, they are also designed so that anyone (and we mean anyone!) can remove whatever it is that is blocking your unit. Underneath every unit is a small slot, and pretty much all of them come with a tiny little wrench to match it. These are most commonly called hex-head wrenches. Yes, that little tool that you probably have no idea where it could possibly be has a very specific and important purpose. Mind blown, right?
I found a vertical crack, about 1 inch long, along the upper part of the disposal housing. The unit, an insinkerator badger 9, is from 2010. When water goes through the unit, a small amount will drip. The amount of water is actually quite limited, even when using lots of water to wash dishes. The unit is obviously old, but seems to work fine otherwise. What are your recommendations? Replace? or just catch the dripping water (1 table spoon per day).
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The bulk of a food waste disposer system, which includes the seals and pipes, is located beneath the kitchen sink. Most homeowners use this space to store various items, and it is not uncommon for people to bump or jar the disposal’s pipes when reaching for an item that is in close proximity. If the pipes are struck hard enough, the pipes can shift so that they are no longer sitting properly. Retaining bolts can become loose. Pipes may move, and seals can shift into an awkward position.
If your disposal grinds poorly, make sure that you are running enough water while operating the unit and that you are not grinding matter that you shouldn’t. If you can hear the garbage disposal running but it is not grinding, the blades may be broken. It’s usually easier and cheaper to just replace the entire unit. See How to Install a Garbage Disposal.
3. Is my plumbing capable of handling the task? If your current plumbing frequently clogs or backs up, then you should NOT install a new garbage disposer. The additional waste that a garbage disposal creates will only increase the chances of one or both happening. Before installing a waste disposer, you’ll need to have the source of the problem identified and fixed.
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.
Another method for cleaning and deodorizing your disposal unit is to sprinkle some baking soda in your unit and rinse it with about a cup of vinegar. This will create the bubbling “volcano effect” that kids love to watch so invite them in on this cleaning project. After allowing your mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, run hot water down the disposal until everything is thoroughly rinsed.
If the garbage disposal won't turn on but the motor makes a humming sound when you flip the switch, it indicates that the inner flywheel is jammed. Usually, this causes the appliance's reset button to pop or the circuit breaker to trip very quickly. This is not a situation you want to continue for very long, as it can burn out the disposer's motor unless the reset button or circuit breaker shuts things off.
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.
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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.”
"Thank you for creating a product that will help reduce the need to call a plumber every 2-3 weeks. I have tried various options to get my staff to take better care of what goes down the 3 compartment sink drain but it did not work. The Drain Strainer makes it extremely simple for them. The first two XL's that I ordered have worked perfectly. These additional two I ordered are for a different location and we expect the same results there." Jim Abanto - Owner El Chalan Restaurant - Miami FL
So I know next to nothing about buying a garbage disposal, for the past ten years I’ve lived in huge cities and haven’t had any room (or necessity for that matter) to purchase one. Having recently bought a house, all that has changed. From dishwasher to washer to dryer to garbage disposal, I’m having to educate myself about them and purchase them with informed decision making skills. Yikes.
Proper use of a garbage disposal can stave off future leaks. So remember to grind only soft foods; hard items such as bones, apple cores, or raw potatoes can dislodge or damage the internal seals. Run cold water through the sink drain before and after food disposal to keep solid fats from congealing into gunk (which can deteriorate the sink flange and cause leaks). Finally, inspect your disposal for leaks—at least twice a year using the dyed-water test—to catch and repair minor leaks before they lead to water-damaged sink cabinets or kitchen floors.
Remove all wet wipes, tissues, sanitary napkins, paper towels, and anything else in your bathroom that you wouldn't want someone to flush down the toilet. Despite the marketing claims that wet wipes are flushable, they are known for causing clogs and other plumbing problems. If someone needs these materials, they will ask, which will give you a great opportunity to explain what can and cannot be flushed down the toilet.
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.
Next, you’ll connect the wires that you disconnected from the old disposer, to the new disposer. If this isn’t a replacement project, and you’re adding a new disposer where you didn’t have one before, you’ll first need to call an electrician to run the proper wires and a wall switch to the unit. For our project, the electrical wires and switch were already in place.
If there is nothing visible clogging your disposal unit, the flip switch on your garbage disposal unit may have turned the unit off. This little red switch is located underneath your unit and protects against overheating and arcing situations. You can try pushing the red switch to reset the garbage disposal unit. Test your unit by turning it on. If it still won't turn on or makes a humming noise, unplug the unit or turn it off at the breaker box, and move to step 4.