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Call A Plumber: 3 Major Signs Your Garbage Disposal May Be Clogged

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Major Signs Your Garbage Disposal May Be Clogged

Did you know that on average, a standard kitchen garbage disposal system can last up to 12 years?

That’s right!

With proper use and care though, you can make yours last even longer. This means cleaning it regularly and not dumping anything you can in it. You’d want to keep this in mind, seeing that it can cost up to $700 to replace a garbage disposal.

You can also prevent the premature failure of your disposal by addressing clogs ASAP. Clogs can lead to the early demise of the unit’s motor, shredders, and other key parts.

The question is, how do you tell if it’s a clog causing your kitchen disposal headaches?

We’ll answer this question in this post, so be sure to keep reading!

1. Your Garbage Disposal Hums or Makes Loud Noises But Doesn’t Do Anything Else

If your garbage disposal isn’t working even if there’s power, then a clog may be to blame. Jamming of disposal units often come with audible noises such as humming or grinding.

Humming Sounds

One sure sign that you have a clogged garbage disposal system is if the only thing it does is to hum. You may feel it vibrating within the sink, but its shredder doesn’t actually turn around.

If this occurs, turn off the unit right away, as letting it “run” even if it’s jammed can burn out its motor. This can happen since the motor is still receiving power and sending it to the blades. Since the blades can’t move because of the jam though, the “excess” power can overheat the motor.

Most jammed garbage disposal units occur due to bigger or harder items pushed down in it. Fruit pits and bones are common culprits of clogged disposals, so don’t put these in the sink shredder.

Small toys that accidentally fall into the drain can also jam your disposal. Putting in too much food debris into the system can also clog up the disposal.

Loud Grinding Noises

A grinding noise that’s louder than usual is also a solid indication that there’s a clog in the disposal. That sound you hear may mean that the shredding blade is having a hard time grinding an object. It may also mean that food is stuck in the flywheel or any other part of the grinding chamber.

Clanking Sounds

You will often hear these sounds briefly when the disposal starts. After a few seconds though, both the noise and the unit will stop. Again, this is a strong indication that you have a jammed up disposal.

If you have the hex wrench designed to unjam your disposal, you can remove the clog on your own. Before doing anything though, make sure you cut the power going into your disposal unit. You can unplug the system from the wall, or better yet, turn off the circuit breaker that powers the kitchen.

2. Your Disposal System Emits Really Bad Smells

A stinky sink often results from clogs in a garbage disposal or food stuck in the grinding chamber. Also, these “leftovers” rot faster, seeing as there could be up to 500,000 species of bacteria in kitchen sinks. All these microorganisms speed up the spoilage of food particles.

The longer you leave the food debris in your disposal, the more the bacteria will multiply. It won’t take long before you start smelling bad odors from your sink. Depending on what’s rotting, your entire kitchen may even smell like sewage.

Foul smells from a disposal system that takes forever to grind up food can also signal a clog. If your disposal system is taking a long time to dispose of food, then there’s something in it that it can’t get rid of. This, however, may also be a sign that you need a professional plumber to clear clogged drain lines.

If the smells come from disposal water coming back up the sink, then the issue may be a clogged disposal drain. You may also have a clogged disposal drain line if the unit isn’t draining liquids. Either way, there’s a blockage in the disposal system which a drain cleaning expert can fix for you.

3. Problems with the Disposal’s Power or Reset Mechanism

As mentioned above, a clog can burn out your disposal’s motor, and if this happens, it will no longer turn on. That’s why you should fix clogs right away and never let the unit continue to run even if the blades aren’t whirring.

Even if the motor doesn’t die, the “power” build-up caused by the clog can trip your circuit breaker. Again, this may occur when the motor overheats, and as a safety precaution, it shuts down itself. If you’re lucky, you may only need to reset the unit by pressing the “Reset” button on it.

However, if overheating happens too often, your motor may still end up burning out early.

If the disposal isn’t turning on at all, check that’s it’s plugged in securely to the outlet. If it is, and there’s still no power, check your circuit breaker to confirm that the switch for the disposal is set to “ON”. Try resetting the breaker switch too, to see if this will get the unit running again.

If none of these work, it’s time to call in a garbage disposal specialist.

Get Those Clogs Out of Your Kitchen Disposal System

As you can see, there are several ways to determine that you have clogged garbage disposal. What’s important is to get these out of the unit ASAP, before they have a chance to kill the motor.

Also, as soon as you get the clog out, refrain from putting anything in the disposal that can block it again. Limit your use of the disposal to leftovers that the shredder can easily grind or break down.

If you have issues with your garbage disposal, we here at National Economy Plumbers can help. Connect with us now as soon as you notice any of these signs of a jammed up disposal!

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