Some household appliances aren’t given much thought—until it’s time to replace them. New garbage disposal is one of those unforeseen purchases.

The garbage disposal is a workhorse in the modern kitchen, present in nearly 50 percent of US homes, according to the 2009 American Housing Survey. Rather than being thrown for a loop when your disposal suddenly goes on the fritz, watch out for these four signs that point to replacement.

1. Bad Smells that Stick Around

Lingering foul odors coming from your disposal could be a sign that scraps of food aren’t being properly ground up and flushed away. While it’s convenient to scrape plates off into the sink after a meal, garbage disposals aren’t meant to handle every type of waste. Vegetable peels or stringy pieces of celery can easily become tangled in the disposal blades and cause clogs. 

Grease and oil can stick to the sides of the disposal and cause blockages. Any trapped food will quickly begin to rot and cause bad odors. There are a number of tips you can try to freshen up your disposal, such as running hot water and degreasing soap down the drain, or grinding up ice cubes.

2. Leaking Water

Leaks are never a good sign, but depending on where the leak is happening, there’s a chance for repair. A putty seal or damaged flange might be the cause of a leak, especially if the water is leaking near the top of the unit. While these parts are easily replaced, a damaged internal seal is more difficult to repair, and it may be more cost-effective to simply replace the unit.

3. No Movement

It’s time for new garbage disposal if it completely stops working. There are a few things you can try to troubleshoot first, though. If you try to turn on the disposal and nothing happens, check for an electrical issue. Make sure the power cord is plugged in, the reset button is pushed in, and your fuse box for a tripped fuse. If you can turn the disposal on and there is a humming sound but no movement, the unit is getting power but likely has a clog or something blocking the blades. Make sure to turn off the power and unplug the unit before shining a flashlight down the drain and using tongs or pliers to remove anything causing the obstruction.

4. Slow Drainage

When water drains slowly but the disposal is on and working, it may be a sign of clogs in the disposal, or blockages further in the drain. If this happens, you can try plunging the drain by filling the sink a quarter full, then forcefully plunging directly over the drain. Follow this with a few minutes of running hot water down the drain. If things don’t improve, it’s time to call a plumber to unclog the drain or replace your disposal unit.

Contact Salisbury Plumbing

When it’s time for you to install a new garbage disposal, call the professionals to do the job properly and efficiently. Our licensed plumbers at Salisbury Plumbing have over 15 years of experience fixing the plumbing in Utah County homes, from Lehi down to Provo. Contact us today for a free estimate!