The garbage disposal is the unsung hero of kitchens across the country. There should be odes written to its greatness. Statues erected to its awesome power. Official holidays dedicated to—nah, we’re just kidding. It is a pretty great little device, though. As great as the garbage disposal is, though, far too many homeowners take it for granted.
We assume that the system will work forever, that it will deal with anything we decide to throw at it and keep on grinding away. Unfortunately, garbage disposals are not immune to issues. They break down from time to time, just like most other systems. If your garbage disposal isn’t working properly, there could be a couple of different reasons why. Read on to find out more.
Broken Impeller Blades
A lot of the issues that you’re going to read about below have to do with homeowners putting things in their disposals that they really shouldn’t. We’ll start with the harder materials first. Fruit pits, bones, ice, and the like are all things that you most certainly should not be putting down your disposal. These materials are far too tough for the impeller blades to properly chop into pieces small enough to fit down the disposal line. What is far more likely to happen is that these materials will break off the impeller blades, making the disposal pretty much useless for, well, disposing of things. Throw these things away instead of putting them down the disposal.
Clogged Drain Line
Has your garbage disposal ever spewed forth a deluge of disgusting water, as though it were vomiting up all the past indignities you’d ever inflicted upon it? If so, you probably have a clogged drain line. The drain line is the link between the garbage disposal and the sewer system. Unfortunately, it has a tendency to get clogged pretty easily when exposed to certain materials. Most damaging to the drain line is FOG (Fats, Oils, and Grease) which is commonly poured down the disposal in liquid form after being used in cooking. The problem is that FOG congeals as it cools, causing it to stick to the walls of the drain line and restrict the wastewater flowing through it. The solution? You guessed it: don’t pour that stuff down the drain! Throw it away instead.
Burned Out Motor
If your garbage disposal doesn’t seem to be turning on at all, it might be that the motor has burned out or otherwise broken down. There are a couple of possible causes for this. It’s possible that there’s an electrical short in the system that’s preventing the current from reaching the motor. It’s also possible that the motor itself has overheated and burned out. This can happen if the impellers get immobilized, which can sometimes happen if fibrous materials like celery strands get tangles around them. Unfortunately, if the motor does burn out, chances are you’ll have to replace the entire garbage disposal. Better to install a new one than to be stuck with one that doesn’t work at all.