Garbage Disposals

Garbage disposals require care and maintenanceGarbage Disposals can be a great, convenient, kitchen appliance. They get rid of food waste easily and painlessly. They are also affordable and easy to install and repair.  But they also have their drawbacks,particularly in a rental.


The care and feeding of your garbage disposal starts with good practices. Garbage disposals are not food processors or food grinders. They are convenient ways to get rid of food waste. But they are designed for food scraps — not large amounts of food. Large food amounts should be thrown in a waste recycling container. Then the leftover food scraps can be washed down the disposal.

Always use lots of water whenever using the garbage disposal. There are two very good reasons for this.

First, the water helps to flush the ground up bits of food down the pipes so they don't settle in p-traps and bends and eventually clog the pipes up. Second, the water helps to lubricate and cool the disposal so it does not overheat and burn out.


  • Do flush regularly with water
  • Do put small amounts of soft food in the garbage disposal


  • Don't run the disposal without also running the water
  • Don't put stringy food (celery, banana peels, etc.) down the disposal
  • Don't put greasy/fatty foods down the disposal
  • Don't let the disposal "hum" for more than a few seconds
  • Don't put seeds or pits down the disposal


When a disposal breaks there are usually only one of two symptoms. Pretty easy.

If the disposal hums then you are in luck. The hum is the electric motor trying to spin the blades in the disposal. So it just means that someting has jammed the blades and is keeping them from turning. Read below on how to repair this situation.

If there is no sound coming from the disposal then it likely means the garbage disposal is shot and you are looking at replacing it. But before doing so, check the electrical breakers at the panel to confirm there is electricity to the unit.


If the disposal is humming then you need to clear the jammed blades so they can spin freely. It may go without saying, but to be sure...be sure to turn the disposal off! Garbage disposals can cause some serious bodily injury. Treat them with respect!

To clear the jam you will need an allen wrench. Stick your head up underneath the disposal. In the center you should see a socket that will fit an allen wrench. Stick the appropriate size allen wrench in the socket and turn the wrench back and forth.<.

At first it will be tough to turn. Try to get a little movement, then work the wrench back and forth to get more and more. Once the blades are free you will feel the wrench turn freely. Remove the allen wrench from the disposal, turn on the water, and turn on the disposal to confirm it is working good.


If there is no sound coming out of the disposal when you flip the switch then the motor is likely shot and it is time for replacement.  It will take about 30-45 minutes to change it out if you know what you are doing.  Longer if it is your first time.  Changing out a garbage disposal involves both electrical and plumbing skills.  So know what you are doing or get help before undertaking replacement.


Finally, call us at (206) 900-9006 or send us an email about your rental property or next maintenance project. We'll be happy to provide you a no-obligation quote, bid, or estimate for free.

Ready to get started? Contact us: (206) 900-9006

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