What Is A Garbage Disposal?

The garbage disposal brings unmatched convenience to modern kitchens. When used correctly it grinds food scraps into small particles and releases them into the drain pipes. It helps keep debris from toxic landfills. Unfortunately, similar to other machines, garbage disposals also break down and occasionally need repair or replacement.

Although there are standard approaches that can apply to repair your garbage disposal, sometimes they don’t work, making replacement a viable option. Read on to find out more about the garbage disposal. If you need any garbage disposal repair services in Mt. Pleasant, SC, feel free to give us a call.

What Are the Benefits of Garbage Disposals?

A garbage disposal installation in the kitchen is an eco-friendly way of getting rid of the common kitchen waste like food remains by grinding them for easy passage through the plumbing. Disposers are more efficient than trash cans due to the absence of rotting food that causes unpleasant odors in the kitchen.

Installing a disposer in your home helps promote a safe and clean environment by reducing waste. Studies show that 20% of environmental waste consists of food waste. Disposing food through disposers sends it to a water treatment plant for conversion into methane gas. Even better, a garbage disposal consumes very minimal costs and water to run.

Sometimes food remains will end up in the kitchen sink and eventually clog the plumbing. It will cost you money to engage a plumber’s services to unclog the drain in such instances. Having a garbage disposal installed can save you money year in and out.

Clogged garbage disposal issues rarely need professional attention; adding water and running it usually successfully unclogs the drain.

Here are a few more benefits:

  • Easier clean up after cooking and washing dishes
  • Reduced pressure on the pipes and prevention of leaks
  • Helps to cut down on plastic waste bag consumption
  • Helps to reduce greenhouse gasses emitted by garbage trucks
  • The food it shreds can be reused as fertilizer or renewable energy when transferred to a water management plant

What Are the Common Garbage Disposal Problems?

Unlike trash cans, garbage disposals cannot handle all food items. Avoid using it to grind food waste such as:

  • Butter, grease, cooking oil
  • Starchy food remains such as pasta, beans and rice
  • Foods containing fiber like carrots, celery, or banana and potato peels
  • Hard remains such as eggshells, large bones, and seafood shells
  • Solids like plastic, paint, glass, or solvents

While operating the garbage disposal, always turn on the cold water and let it run while the disposal is in action. The cold water helps remove any traces of grease in the garbage that may lead to clogs if not addressed.

Common Garbage Disposal Issues

There are several likely issues you will encounter when operating a garbage disposal unit. Timely fixing of these issues will eliminate larger plumbing problems.


Leaks provide a fertile ground for mold growth, pest infestations, and bad odors and can also cause warped cabinetry. Prompt repair will help avert further damage. Areas you should routinely check for any leakages include the unit’s outer casing, drainage hose, and plumbing connections to rule out loose connections.

Leaks around plumbing connections only require minor repairs. Purchasing a new unit is a better option if leaks occur internally, perhaps due to cracks or corrosion, or if the disposer unit has seen better days after 10-15 years of service.


Grinding a large amount of food, the wrong type of food, or using less water during the process can lead to clogging. Clogs may also form gradually as food waste coats the drain trap and the waste line. If you notice the disposal draining slowly, consider removing the trap and draining the clog manually.

Avoid chemical drain cleaners when dealing with clogging due to their corrosive properties that may damage the garbage disposal causing leaks. To prevent clogs, only grind the recommended types of foods. Also, keep cold water running for a bit after switching off the garbage disposal.


When the garbage disposal inner flywheel jams, the motor produces a humming sound without grinding. Feeding it too much food or the wrong food is a common cause of jams. The garbage disposal usually comes fitted with a circuit breaker that trips when the unit jams, preventing burnout in a motor.

You can use the wrench that comes with the manual to repair the jammed flywheel. Make sure you follow the instructions in the users manual to the letter to repair the jam effectively or call Sadler Plumbing to assess the situation.


Food particles trapped in the drain trap are the leading causes of odors that emanate from a garbage disposal. This is a result of not running sufficient water during the grinding process.

There are some readily available items that you can use for a DIY repair when odors are a problem:

  • Dish Washing Soap – With the sink stopper in place, fill the sink halfway with cold water and add a little liquid soap. After forming a soapy mixture, remove the sink stopper and let the water rush rapidly through the drain pipe. This simple procedure should remove all the food residue trapped in the drainpipe, eliminating odors in the disposal unit.
  • Vinegar and Baking Soda – Put a mixture of vinegar and baking soda into the garbage disposal unit and leave it for some time. Then run the disposal as cold water flows, draining all the trapped food particles and doing away with the odor.

If nothing seems to help eliminate the odor then call Saddler Plumbing. One of our plumbers can take the unit apart to find and remove any trapped particles that could be causing the issue. It is important to note that you should not resort to chemical cleaners when working with your disposal. Not only are most drain cleaners too hard for your plumbing, all of these solvents can damage disposal blades and components.

When Should You Replace a Garbage Disposal?

While a garbage disposal repair is possible for minor issues, it’s best to replace the entire unit if vital parts get worn out or when cracks develop. The lifespan of a properly maintained garbage disposal is around 10-15 years, after which you should definitely consider a replacement if normal functioning stops.

Pressing the reset button can restore the garbage disposal’s normal functioning. This however, is not necessary when the unit is in excellent shape. If resetting the garbage disposal has become too frequent (every time you turn on the disposer) it’s a clear indication that the unit has aged and needs replacement. Loose wires can also cause frequent resets: talk to Saddler Plumbing to help you safely resolve it.

If there are abnormal noises from the unit that won’t go away, it’s time to acquire a new unit. A loud humming noise will be heard when the garbage disposal won’t turn on due to a dead motor. It results from the electric power reaching the unit, but the motor can’t turn on to grind food. The repair is almost equivalent to getting a new unit, so purchasing a new model is a better option.

Perhaps your garbage disposal shuts off by itself when running or fails to turn on altogether. In such instances you should check the circuit to confirm if it has blown. If the electrical system is not faulty, but such issues persist, you should call an expert to inspect it. Typically, a power issue usually points to a failing motor that has aged or blown out.

Tips for Buying the Right Garbage Disposal

If you are replacing your disposer after 10-15 years or installing one for the first time, it is essential that you understand the changes that have happened over time. Technology now plays a significant role in determining a disposer’s performance, durability, and functionality. Here are a few pointers when purchasing a new garbage disposal in Mt. Pleasant.

Type of Motor

Disposers run on two kinds of motors:

  • Induction motors
  • Permanent magnet motors

Noise Levels

Most disposals in homes are the loud type. With advanced technology, there is an emergence of units with reduced noise levels of up to 30-60%. Choose one fitted with noise reduction features such as anti-vibration tail types, noise reducing sink baffles, etc.


The horsepower in garbage disposal motors ranges between ⅓ to 1 horsepower. If the disposal has a higher horsepower it will grind heavier food, prolonging the motor’s life. High horsepower is ideal for frequent cooking or large families.

Component Materials

The construction material for grind components and chambers are galvanized steel, plastic, or stainless steel. Most disposers are rust and corrosion resistant due to construction using thermoplastic polymer grind chambers. Stainless steel, however, has higher corrosion resistance and lengthens the disposer’s life. Although galvanized steel is durable, it can also be susceptible to rust and corrosion over time.

Grind Stages  

Disposers offer three different main stages:

  • Stage 1: Most disposers have a single grinding stage. After grinding, it is then released into the drain pipes with cold water.
  • Stage 2: Food is ground twice for a finer grind. It is liquefied, reducing chances of jams or clogs.
  • Stage 3: Delivers the finest grind and can handle many food materials. Cases of jams or clogs are unheard of in this stage.

Now you understand why you need a garbage disposal installed in your home, the common issues you will have while running one, and a buying guide if you want to replace an old unit. If Mt. Pleasant or the surrounding area is your location, Saddler Plumbing is your trusted partner for all your garbage disposal repair and installation needs. Whatever your need is, we will get the job done professionally and affordably.