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Signs You Need to Replace Your Garbage Disposal

Your garbage disposal is one of the most important appliances in your kitchen. It helps you get rid of your food waste quickly and cleanly, making kitchen clean-up a breeze. However, like any other appliance, your garbage disposal may eventually need to be replaced. If you have a problematic garbage disposal humming in the kitchen of your Birmingham home, you may need to replace it.

The licensed Birmingham plumbers of Douglas Cooling & Heating explain what causes garbage disposal issues and some things you can try to fix it. If troubleshooting does not work, give us a call to solve your worst garbage disposal problems.

You Hear Garbage Disposal Humming

If you notice the garbage disposal is humming but it is not working properly, it could be a sign of a serious problem. This is not a normal sound, and it may indicate that your garbage disposal is not functioning correctly. You may hear the humming sound when you turn on your garbage disposal, but it won’t grind up food waste. In such a case, it is best to call an experienced technician to address the issue.

Jammed Blades

There could be several reasons why your garbage disposal is humming and not grinding up food. The first reason could be that the disposal blades are jammed. This can happen when food waste gets caught in the blades. When the blades are jammed, they are unable to rotate.

Several things have the potential to jam up your unit’s blades and cause a garbage disposal humming sound. Pieces of food that have been collected in the bottom of the unit may clog it up, or kitchen debris like bones that shouldn’t be in garbage disposals at all. Foreign objects, such as kitchen utensils, are common culprits that cause jams and garbage disposal humming. Make sure you do not put fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells, fruit pits, or non-food particles down garbage disposals.

Bad Motor

Humming garbage disposals are a common sign that the motor has gone bad. The motor is a vital part of the garbage disposal, and if it’s not working correctly, the disposal won’t function correctly. In such cases, it’s best to call a technician, and they can give you further instructions concerning the repair of your current unit or install a new garbage disposal.

If the garbage disposal is turned on while an object has blocked the blades from spinning, its use has the potential to burn out the unit’s motor. With a bad motor, you’re probably looking at garbage disposal replacement rather than a repair. Once you verify there is no blockage down in the unit causing the garbage disposal to make unusual noises, you can try to reset the disposal by turning off the power and manually freeing the trapped food. Never stick your hand down a garbage disposal when it’s running.

Other Garbage Disposal Noises

Your garbage disposal should make some noise when it’s functioning correctly. However, if you notice that your garbage disposal is getting louder or making grinding or screeching noises, it could be a sign that it’s time for a new garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal is functioning well but making a loud noise, there is a chance that there is something loose within the grinder that is causing the sound.

Another reason why your garbage disposal could be making strange noises is that the blades are worn out. Over time the blades can dull or even break, causing unusual sounds while in operation. Worn-out blades can also lead to clogs and jams, which is another sign that it’s time to replace the entire disposal. Dropping ice cubes down your garbage disposal now and again can help sharpen the blades.

You Experience Frequent Clogs

If you find yourself constantly having to unclog your garbage disposal, you may want to consider replacing it. While clogs can usually be easily handled through regular cleaning and maintenance, frequent clogs may be a sign of an underlying problem. It may indicate that the blades, motor, or any other part of your disposal is in need of replacement. A qualified technician can help you assess the problem and recommend the best course of action.

How to Unclog Your Garbage Disposal

Luckily, as long as a garbage disposal humming sound is addressed right away, this problem isn’t too complicated to solve on your own. The solution is often as simple as removing the object from the unit. Due to the nature of the equipment and the sharp blades within, you need to be sure you do so in a safe manner. Our licensed plumbers outline the steps to follow to remove objects stuck in your garbage disposal.

  • Turn off the power to your disposal. Turning it off at the wall switch is not enough – cut power to the unit at your home’s electrical panel.
  • At the bottom of your garbage disposal, there is a small hex-shaped hole. Using the hex wrench, which is also called an Allen wrench, included with your unit, insert the Allen wrench into the hole.
  • Turn the wrench clockwise. Doing so turns the disposal’s flywheel, which helps to break up the material jamming the blades.
  • Once you feel the resistance release and are able to turn the flywheel with ease, the jam has been eliminated. Use a pair of tongs or pliers to reach into the garbage disposal from the drain to pull out the offending object. And remember, never put your hands down the drain.
  • Make sure to pull out the Allen wrench and turn the power back on by resetting the circuit breaker at your home’s electrical panel.
  • Turn on the disposal at the wall switch. If it runs, flush it with hot water for about a minute to clear out any debris left down in the unit.

Call Douglas for Plumbing Help!

If you notice the garbage disposal humming when you flip the switch but can’t fix the jam or don’t know the cause, call your plumber for assistance. Douglas Cooling & Heating helps homeowners throughout Birmingham, AL with plumbing repairs for garbage disposals as well as other components of a home’s plumbing system. Contact us today to schedule a service call.


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