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A garbage disposal is a pretty handy kitchen tool, making cleanup after family dinners and meal prep much easier and preventing your sink from getting clogged. Unfortunately, because of their heavy usage and moving parts, garbage disposals are also among those kitchen appliances that are often going out of service for one reason or another. Here are some helpful tips to keep your garbage disposal and sink running smoothly:

  1. Scraps: Do not put greasy scraps, such as fat or oils, down the garbage disposal. The disposal mechanism may shred them but will not change their hydrophobic properties, meaning that oil and fats can clog drains and pipes. Also avoid putting in coffee grounds, large amounts of pasta, and meat, which over time will make your sink smell pretty bad.

  2. Electric issue 1: If the disposal makes a low humming sound when you turn it on but the blades are not spinning, the impeller plate needs to be rotated. To do this, find your disposal unit under the sink. Turn off and unplug it (this is important). Then, insert a hex wrench into the bolt on the bottom of the unit to rotate the plate. This should dislodge whatever was stopping the blades from turning. Plug the unit back in and turn it on to see if that did the trick.

  3. Electric issue 2: If you flip the disposal switch and nothing happens, the disposal may need to be reset. Find your unit under the sink and look for a small button (may be red) near the bottom. Press it, then try flipping the disposal switch again.

  4. Leaks: If you notice your disposal is leaking from the top, you can try removing it—unplug the unit and turn it counter-clockwise to detach from the mounting flange—and then unscrewing the flange, applying plumber’s putty on the seal, and putting it all back together. Vibrations from continuous use, or poor putty placement on installation, is the likely culprit there. If, however, you notice that your disposal unit is leaking from the bottom, that means that the housing unit has been damaged (likely from age or extreme use) and the entire unit must be replaced.

If you need your garbage disposal repaired or replaced, contact the experts at Powell’s Plumbing today. We can help!