The premise behind the proper use of a disposer is to effectively regard food scraps as liquid (averaging 70% water, like human waste), and use existing infrastructure (underground sewers and wastewater treatment plants) for its management. Modern wastewater plants are effective at processing organic solids into fertilizer products (known as biosolids), with advanced facilities also capturing methane for energy production.
No need to worry if your garbage disposal is on the fritz—installing a new one is a straightforward project that you can do yourself in just a few minutes. Start by switching off the power to the disposal at your home’s breaker box to ensure that you can work safely. Next, remove the old unit by detaching it from the mounting ring directly beneath the sink drain. Finally, install any necessary new mounting hardware, fit the new disposal into place, and turn on the water to test for leaks before giving it a trial run.
STEP 3 – Clear out the disposal to remove any bits of hard foods, bone shards or other fibrous gunk that may be preventing the grinding blades from rotating and pulverizing your discarded food. Use a tool (a pliers, wooden spoon, etc.) to do this. Putting your hand in situation where whirling blades of destruction are nearby is never a good idea. (That is what I’ve heard anyway.)
A leaky garbage disposal is not only a hassle, it’s also a mess and can also result in other problems if left unfixed. If you’re inexperienced in home improvement work, diagnosing the source of the leak may seem like quite a challenge. Make your life easier with the help of the information below. Once you start eliminating each possible option on your checklist, you should be able to identify the problem quite quickly.
Whether you repaired or replaced the leaking garbage disposal, test for any missed problem spots. Wipe the unit dry with a clean cloth, then unplug the sink drain (if plugged) and pour a few cups of dyed water into the drain once more. Use a flashlight to inspect the entire unit. If you don’t observe a leak, turn on the power to the disposal from your breaker box and plug in the disposal at the wall outlet.
Have you ever opened the cabinets under the sink to remove the trash or a handful of cleaning products, only to find everything soaked and soggy? Have you ever installed – or even had professionally installed – a brand new, state-of-the-art garbage disposal, only to have it flood your kitchen floor the next day? If so, you have a major plumbing: a leaking garbage disposal leaking from.
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.
Run a few trays of ice cubes, orange peels and salt through the disposal to remove odors and keep your disposals clean. For really tough odors, add 1/2 cup of baking soda and 1/2 cup of vinegar and let it stand for 15 minutes before rinsing. Also, running ice through the disposal will actually sharpen the teeth, keeping foods from getting stuck in the unit.
Garbage disposal units have standard hook-ups that are present on all models from every manufacturer. They all have an inlet and an outlet and a dishwasher inlet on the side, and a disposal unit can leak in those areas. If the body of the unit is leaking, the unit must be replaced, but other leaks in a disposal unit can be repaired by a do-it-yourselfer who has basic skills.
Wrap plumbing tape around the threads of the sink drain where the disposal crews to the sink and the drain threads on the side of the disposal for the drain pipe. Screw the disposal back in under the sink. Screw the drain pipe back to the disposal. Tighten with the pipe wrench. Turn on the water to check for leaks and plug the disposal back in. Turn on the power switch to make sure disposal is running properly.
One last thought - Beef bones? I see that Consumer Reports tests these things by measuring the fineness of the grind using beef bones. Do people really put beef bones down a garbage disposal on purpose? You might think I'm babying mine, or maybe that's why I didn't have excessive vibration when I use it, but I'll put the beef bones in the trash and grind up the rest of the stuff with this and be just fine for many years to come, I hope!
Garbage disposals aren’t exactly quiet, but the device shouldn’t make a terrible screeching noise either. If your appliance is guilty of shrill sounds, there are a few potential causes. The grates could have shifted causing the device to move incorrectly, or the motor could be worn out. In either case, this usually occurs when a garbage disposal is at the end of its life, so replacement is a good option.
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.
The InSinkErator Badger 5 food waste disposal includes an exclusive, 'We Come to You' 2-Year In-Home Limited Warranty. This warranty includes free house calls (parts and labor) fulfilled through a network of 1500 professional service agents who are trained and certified to install, repair or replace InSinkErator disposers. Call our toll-free service line and we’ll provide you with the name and phone number of a factory authorized service agent nearest you.
Some types of food remains are not easy to grind in a disposer. Do not put fibrous food items into your disposal. Help grind these items by putting in a few small bones or large ice cubes to the disposal. If the disposer won’t grind it up then turn off the disposer and remove the item with a pair of tongs. When using your disposer, make sure that the disposal is running with good water flow. Good water flow carries the waste down the drain line. Using too little water can create a clogged drain.
To reseal the leaky flange, you must first detach the garbage disposal. Start by loosening the screws securing the main drain pipe to the disposal, then loosen the screws in the metal clamp securing the dishwasher hose to the disposal and detach the drain pipe and dishwasher hose from the disposal. Loosen the screws in the mounting ring that connects the disposal to the metal mounting assembly beneath the sink, then pull down the disposal and carefully set it on a clean, dry surface. Loosen the bolts in the mounting assembly with a wrench, then pull down the mounting assembly and set it near the disposal.
You should first find out whether only the disposal is broken, or if the power has gone out completely in the areas near your kitchen sink. Try resetting the circuit breaker that leads to the kitchen, or replacing a fuse if you have an older electrical box. If the garbage disposal makes no noises at all when you flip the switch, you might also want to check under the sink to see that it’s plugged in.
If the disposal is plugged in and doesn’t need to be reset, then you should check the circuit breaker. The breaker could be flipped, which would mean your disposal isn’t getting power. If that’s still not the problem, then either the outlet is dead, the circuit breaker is malfunctioning, or the disposal needs to be replaced. Check the outlet first by plugging something else into it. If the outlet works, try replacing the circuit breaker switch. If that isn’t it either, you have to replace the disposal.
Josh Crank is a freelance writer and content marketer with a background in legal journalism, travel writing, and marketing for numerous commercial industries. He's found his perfect fit at Direct Energy in writing about home maintenance and repairs, energy efficiency, and smart home technology. Josh lives with his wife, toddler son and endlessly howling beagle-basset hound mix in New Orleans.
A high-torque, insulated electric motor, usually rated at 250–750 W (1⁄3–1 hp) for a domestic unit, spins a circular turntable mounted horizontally above it. Induction motors rotate at 1,400–1,800 rpm and have a range of starting torques, depending on the method of starting used. The added weight and size of induction motors may be of concern, depending on the available installation space and construction of the sink bowl. Universal motors, also known as series-wound motors, rotate at higher speeds, have high starting torque, and are usually lighter, but are noisier than induction motors, partially due to the higher speeds and partially because the commutator brushes rub on the slotted commutator. Inside the grinding chamber there is a rotating metal turntable onto which the food waste drops. Two swiveling metal impellers mounted on top of the plate near the edge then fling the food waste against the grind ring repeatedly. Sharp cutting edges in the grind ring break down the waste until it is small enough to pass through openings in the ring, whereupon it is flushed down the drain.