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Repair & Maintenance

When Should I Replace My Garbage Disposal?

Appliances don’t last forever, but sometimes it’s hard to know when to replace one instead of repairing it. With garbage disposals, there are some distinct signs that may give you clues about what to do.
New garbage disposal

 

You might consider replacing your kitchen garbage disposal if you notice any of these situations.

1. It clogs frequently. 

If you are taking care of your disposal by:

  • Always running water during use and for at least 20 seconds after use
  • Only disposing of food items approved by your manufacturer
  • Cutting up items into small pieces and feeding them in slowly; yet your unit still clogs often, it may be time for a new disposal

Frequent clogs also may signal that you require a larger disposal capacity for your needs, so look into installing a bigger model.

2. You have to press the reset button a lot.

It’s not unusual to have to push the reset button after a clog or after you’ve put large amounts through the disposal, but frequent resetting could mean that the motor is failing and the unit needs replacing.

3. You can’t get rid of odors.

If you’ve tried to freshen your disposal by cleaning it with ice cubes, baking soda and vinegar, citrus peels, and a sink full of dish soap yet odors still linger, the smell may be trapped in the drain lines or in the unit itself. Sometimes the only way to eliminate the smell is to replace the unit.
 

4. The blades have become dull.

When you notice that food takes a long time to grind or you are getting frequent clogs, it may mean that the blades are no longer sharp enough and you need a new unit.

5. You have a leak that can’t be easily fixed.

While some leaks, such as those in drain or dishwasher lines, have simple fixes like tightening connections or replacing O-rings, other leaks are more complicated and costly. If you have a leak in the sink flange or in other parts of the unit, it may be more cost effective to install a new unit than to repair the old one.

6. You’re replacing your kitchen sink or dishwasher.

While it certainly isn’t always necessary to replace your disposal just because you’re getting a new sink or updating your kitchen appliances, it may be a good time to do so, especially if your unit is over ten years old. Since you already have professionals on the site, it may be more cost efficient and convenient to go ahead and replace an older unit instead of waiting for it to fail at a future date.

 Repair costs meet or exceed the replacement cost. Do the math and see if repairing the disposal is going to cost as much or more than getting a new unit.

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