Garbage Disposal Replacement and Maintenance

Have you recently opened up your kitchen sink cabinet door and found a large puddle of water underneath? Do you hear odd noises and rumbling coming from your garbage disposal? It’s time to replace your current garbage disposal with a new unit that will outperform and outlast the old one. Garbage disposals have a typical life span of about 5-15 years depending on the usage and quality of the disposal. Over time, the rubber seals and steel bearings will eventually fail and more than likely leave you with a mess under the kitchen sink.

What brand and what quality level of garbage disposal should I get?

For most typical home owners and apartments, a 1/3 HP standard unit should be sufficient. If you intend to put your disposal through heavy use, it would be beneficial to jump up to a 3/4 or 1 HP unit. As you move up in size, the quality and reliability of the disposal also increases.

Badger line garbage disposal by InSinkErator
Badger series garbage disposal by InSinkErator

Some other options to consider are units that have a stainless steel grinding chamber and internal parts. If you are concerned about the noise that comes along with the use of a garbage disposal, there are some higher end units that have sound reduction insulation that reduces the noise significantly. Another feature of some high end units is the ability for the disposal to auto reverse when a jam is detected. My preferred brand of disposal is the InSinkErator brand. I recommend the Badger series for the typical home owner looking for a quality and budget friendly unit. If you’re looking to upgrade to a higher end unit the InSinkErator Evolution line is top quality and delivers the best performance of any brand I have ever installed. Here’s a link to the InSinkErator site that will help you make your decision.

What can I do to prolong the life of my new disposal?

I try to give my customers a little advice after I have installed their new disposal because I want to help them increase the life expectancy of their investment. My number one suggestion is to always run cold water down the disposal after the dishwasher has been used. Many people don’t realize that their dishwasher empties directly into their garbage disposal chamber. If the disposal goes unused for a period of time, but the dishwasher has been used during that time frame, you will get a collection of debris from the dishwasher that accumulates and sits in the disposal. This leads to foul smells and shortens the lifespan of the disposal by prematurely deteriorating the rubber seals and internals of the disposal. I recommend running water and putting a few handfuls of ice down the disposal about once a week while it’s running. This will break up the buildup of debris from the chamber and allow you to get the longest life out of your unit.

What should I check if my disposal doesn’t work at all?

The first thing you should check on most disposals is the electrical reset button on the bottom of the unit. If it has been tripped it will be sticking out a little further than normal. Just push it back up and test out the disposal. If the disposal is attempting to run, but you can only hear it hum, it is more than likely jammed. Most units have a wrench that can be used to clear up the jam from the underside. If all else fails, please give us a call and we can take care of the issue. Never try to free up a disposal with your hands.