Garbage disposals are a vital part of any kitchen. These electric powerhouses shred food trash in a couple of seconds, making cleanup a considerably easier chore.
While this useful item is fantastic when it works properly, garbage disposals can malfunction or break down over time.
How Long Can I Use My Garbage Disposal?
A garbage disposal has an average lifespan of 12–15 years. Factors determining how long the disposal lasts include the product’s quality, usage frequency, and the materials thrown into it.
Aside from knowing what you should never put in the appliance, frequent cleaning and regular preventative maintenance with a professional plumber are two of the best strategies to ensure that your equipment lives up to or beyond its life expectancy. More ways to extend the life of your garbage disposal can be found below.
What Impacts the Garbage Disposal Lifespan?
Here are some of the factors that may affect the lifespan of your garbage disposal.
Quality of the Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals that are newer and more advanced endure longer than older models. Buying new, heavy-duty garbage disposal rather than a lesser one is a simple investment that will pay you in the long term.
Aside from opting for newer models, disposals with high horsepower may also last longer than the ones on the low end. Under normal circumstances, a 1-HP disposal will last longer than a 1/3HP because of its shredding capacity, auto-reverse feature, and stainless chamber.
The shredding capacity is the amount of food waste it can handle at once. A disposal with a higher horsepower can handle large amounts of food without breaking down.
The auto-reverse feature switches the spinning direction anytime a foreign object is detected. Finally, the stainless chamber prevents the appliance from rusting, especially when left unused for a long time.
We’ve put together articles to enable you to pick the most suitable garbage disposal for your household. You might want to see How to Choose a Garbage Disposal.
Items You Put in the Disposal
The objects you put in your garbage disposal significantly impact their longevity. For example, if you constantly throw oil and fibrous foods down your disposal, your blades and motor will be hammered more than someone who exclusively puts fruit and vegetable waste down their disposal.
Frequency of Usage
It’s not only what you drop down the garbage disposal; it’s also how frequently you do it. The more you use your disposal, the more the blades and motor work, reducing the lifespan of the garbage disposal over time.
At the same time, not running your disposal for a long time can also lead to damage, as the blades and the shredding ring might rust.
Signs of a Failing Garbage Disposal
While some garbage disposal issues are repairable, others necessitate a complete replacement. Here are eight signs you need to repair or replace your garbage disposal.
1. Disturbing Noises
If you’ve ever had a piece of cutlery accidentally fall into your garbage disposal, you know how loud it can be. When you hear an abnormal noise, especially one that sounds metallic, use a flashlight to look for any obvious cause, such as a spoon.
If nothing appears to be blocking the blades, the garbage disposal components may be misaligned, causing them to grind together when you operate the appliance. A short tweak can usually remedy the problem. Because clogs damage the motor, it’s critical to handle abnormal disposal sounds as soon as possible.
2. Regular Resets
The reset button on your trash disposal is designed to aid recovery from uncommon conditions such as big loads or obstructions. However, if your trash disposal is in good working order, you shouldn’t have to press the reset button too often.
Your trash disposal may be aging if you have to reset it regularly or every time you turn it on. Another typical reason for repeated resets is loose wiring, which requires the assistance of an electrician or plumber to repair it properly.
3. It Has an Unpleasant Odor that Won’t Go Away
Old food and waste can emit unpleasant odors, but this could be avoided by using a properly operating garbage disposal. If odors remain after carefully rinsing and running at your disposal, there may be tenacious particles lodged in the machine that will not budge.
Most of the time, you may hire a specialist to remove the stuck particles. However, if your disposal is 15 years old or older, it may be time to replace it.
4. Your Garbage Disposal is Leaking
Over time, water may leak through some of the sections where your disposal links to the rest of your drainage system. When the leak grows large enough to be noticed, it is often necessary to replace the entire appliance.
These leaks may form pools on the floor near your cabinet, beneath your sink, or trickle from beneath the appliance itself. It’s easy to confuse a sink leak or dishwasher with a disposal leak, so have a plumber investigate any leak that appears to be originating from your disposal. Call your local plumber for a disposal inspection.
5. Your Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On
When waste disposal refuses to start, there might be a significant problem with the device itself. Start by hitting the unit’s reset button to see if that gets it running again. You may also inspect the circuit breaker in your property’s electrical panel.
If none of these troubleshooting approaches addresses the problem, there’s a strong possibility you’ll need to call in a professional.
6. Poor Performance
The bulk of your loads should pass through your disposal rapidly. If your disposal takes an unusually long time to break down bits of food, the blades may need to be fixed or replaced. In rare circumstances, serious blade damage may require the replacement of the complete machine, so have a professional inspect the appliance.
You can find the fixes for common disposal problems in our article on How to Fix a Garbage Disposal
How to Extend the Life of a Garbage Disposal
By following the correct guidelines for usage and performing a basic maintenance routine, you can make your garbage disposal last longer. You should:
Let cold water run down the drain when using the garbage disposal. In general, disposals operate best when used in combination with cold water. In addition, the cold water helps to solidify oil and fat, making them simpler to drain through the system.
Put hard bits of food, such as little chicken bones through it regularly. When these materials are pulverized, the hard material fragments scour the grinding chamber’s edges and eliminate buildup. This aids in the cleanliness of your waste disposal.
Fill your waste disposal with ice cubes once a month to clean it. This will aid in the removal of any grease or muck that has accumulated on the sides of the disposal.
Don’t overfill the waste disposal. Attempting to put too much food down the disposal at once can cause it to clog. Fill the disposal only halfway.
When you put food in the garbage disposal, make sure you run it right away. Don’t leave food sitting there for long. Food that stays in the disposal causes corrosion, so turn it on whenever you put food in it.
Non-food objects should be kept away from the garbage disposal. The most common method of damaging a garbage disposal is to drop cutlery, jewelry, or other valuables into it by accident.