When to Replace Garbage Disposal: 4 Signs

Erin Easley

Written By Clint Bird

Published 09/06/21
When to Replace Garbage Disposal: 4 Signs

When used appropriately, garbage disposals protect your kitchen sink and home plumbing by obliterating food scraps and other debris that can cause clogs, attract pests, and promote mold growth. 

A quality garbage disposal can last quite a long time, but even the best appliances break down eventually. There are various signs and symptoms that suggest when one is due to be replaced. In this article, we’ll explain how to know when to replace garbage disposal units.

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How Long Do Garbage Disposals Last?

With regard to life expectancy, garbage disposal units typically last for around 10 to 12 years. As with any appliance, careful maintenance can extend a disposal’s lifespan. Chronic neglect or ill-advised use, on the other hand, can necessitate a unit’s replacement in just a few years.

Knowing whether to repair or replace garbage disposal units is dependent on the appliance’s age and the nature of the problem. A relatively new unit with a broken blade can likely be repaired at an affordable cost. For a ten-year-old unit with one or more of the problems listed below, the garbage disposal repair cost could exceed the cost of buying a new one. 

Let’s take a look at some telltale signs that your garbage disposal is due to be swapped out.

4 Signs You Need a New Garbage Disposal

1. Slow Drainage

A sink that is slow to drain could be an early sign that your garbage disposal needs to be replaced. One-off drainage problems aren’t usually cause for worry; chronic problems demand your attention.

If water is slow to drain even after you turn the garbage disposal on, you’ll need to first rule out a blockage in your plumbing. Review some of the best ways to unclog your kitchen sink. Depending on the nature of the clog, you may need to use a plunger or plumber’s snake. 

If you’ve exhausted your solutions to unclog the drain and water is still slow to drain, your disposal could be suffering from mechanical defects or a buildup of gunk and debris.

2. Persistent Odors

Sometimes trapped food particles aren’t bulky enough to significantly impair drainage, but they can still cause unpleasant odors. If you’re noticing a persistent foul smell from your sink’s drain, the accumulation of rotten food, bacteria, and mold in your garbage disposal is the likely culprit.

Cleaning solutions can provide some temporary relief. It’s also possible for a professional to open up a garbage disposal and manually clean it. But if there’s such a substantial amount of gunk that you’re noticing an unpleasant smell, it’s usually time to buy a new garbage disposal altogether.

3. Leaking Water

The presence of water leaking from the unit is one way how to tell if a garbage disposal is broken. Garbage disposals use seals, flanges, gaskets, and other materials to stay watertight. Over time, these materials can warp, develop cracks, lose adhesive properties, or become otherwise defective.

Use a flashlight to examine beneath your sink to confirm the leak is originating from the garbage disposal and not somewhere else, such as a pipe or joint. If your garbage disposal is leaking, you should attend to this immediately. A leak can invite mold and rust, and it can damage wood and other building materials.

A garbage disposal leak can be repaired, but it usually makes more financial sense to purchase a new one.

4. Unusual Noises

A sudden unusual noise coming from your garbage disposal is not something to ignore. Most often, the cause of a strange noise is a foreign object that has fallen down the drain. Silverware, glass, and bottle caps are common culprits.

Use a flashlight to peer into the drain. If you discover something, use extreme caution to retrieve it. If you don’t notice any foreign objects in the disposal, there’s probably a mechanical problem with the unit. Depending on the age of the disposal, you may be better off purchasing and installing a replacement.

Garbage Disposal Warranty Coverage

No one can say exactly when your garbage disposal will cease to function properly, but replacing the unit at some point is an inevitability. When that time comes, you may be able to use home warranty coverage to protect yourself from the full cost of buying and installing a new unit.

Liberty Home Guard provides warranty coverage for in-sink garbage disposals, just as we do for virtually all other household appliances. Our policy will cover the appliance’s mechanical components and parts, rewarding you with significant savings if your disposal develops an issue and needs to be repaired or replaced.

If you would like to explore coverage options for your garbage disposal or any belongings, reach out to our team by calling (866)-851-2024. You can also obtain a free quote through our website.

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