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F.H. Furr's Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical Insider Blog

5 Signs Your Garbage Disposal is On the Fritz

Here at F.H. Furr we have a high opinion of the good people of the metro D.C. area, so we’re going to assume you know that if you put chicken bones down your garbage disposer, it’s not going to work – at least, not for long. If you’ve been following our plumbing advice, your garbage disposer should be working just fine.

Unfortunately, there is this little thing called the “aging process,” and much like it wreaks havoc on our own bodies, it also does a number on our homes. Your garbage disposal is not immune to its effects. If you’re wondering if it’s time to replace your disposer, read on for five helpful hints.

  1. Food in your dishwasher. If your spouse swears they rinsed the dishes before putting them in but you’re still winding up with a dishwasher full of food, it may be your garbage disposal to blame. The two are connected, so when the garbage disposer is backed up or broken, the dishwasher takes the brunt.
  2. Clank, rattle and roll. If you hear clanking or rattling, it means that something is down the disposer that shouldn’t be, and the disposer doesn’t like that. Or it can mean that one of the little metal pieces has worked itself loose and is rattling around in there. Either way, you need help. If you hear a buzzing or whirring noise, the foreign object has blocked the disposer from spinning. The good news- Your motor still works.
  3. Funny smells. If there’s a permanent icky smell coming from your sink, that’s a good sign your garbage disposer isn’t working as it should. If food particles are stuck in the mechanism, or it’s not appropriately chopping and discarding your leftovers, food can build up in the nooks and crannies, causing a big stink.
  4. Leaks. There are several common areas around a garbage disposer that can leak. One is at the sink flange. This can be a sign of a loose disposer, and you’ll need to tighten the screws. The other common area for leaks is at the discharge pipe. Often this is simply because of loose gaskets at the pipe, but if they are already tight or tightening them doesn’t work it may be time to call a professional.
  5. Nothing happens. This is the big kahuna of drain pipe deaths – if you flip the switch and nothing happens, not even that half-hearted buzzing noise, it’s time to call in the big guns.

It’s possible you may just need to press the re-set button on your disposer, but more often than not it means your garbage disposal has gone to the happy disposer farm in the sky. Cry a little, mourn, and give F.H. Furr a call, we'll be there to give your home a thorough plumbing inspection, and we'll come out to your home for free*! No dispatch or diagnostic fees!

Topics: rattling Disposal working garbage disposal