disposal is often one of the most-used appliances in the kitchen. Itís
also the most abused.
objects in the disposal is the most common issue," said Kevin
Harner of Kevin Harner Appliance Services Co. in Enola, Pa. "Iíve
seen everything run the gamut from paper clips and bottle caps, to nails
and screws in there. If you canít cut it on the countertop with a
knife, you probably shouldnít put it in the disposal."
your disposal, and not giving it some occasional TLC, can lead to
premature failure and possibly secondary damage to your countertops,
flooring and more, as a result of a leak.
avoid putting foods that expand when theyíre wet ó like potatoes and
rice ó or fibrous foods, like celery stalks and corn husks.
disposal will chop it up, but, when it gets down to the trap, it will
expand," and just sit there, said Mark Mullen of A-1
Appliance Service in Fayette County, Ky. "Putting water through
there just makes it worse. Corn husks and corn silk donít expand, but
they donít chop up real fine. When corn-shucking season comes around,
I clean a lot of corn silk out of a lot of drains."
important to limit the amount of waste you put into the disposal at one
time and to run warm water as youíre feeding it.
"You want to
feed the garbage in there slowly as the unit is running and not
completely fill it up and turn it on," Harner said. "If you
put too much in there at one time, it doesnít always drain away
properly and can make a mess inside the disposal."
problems typically present in one of two ways: the machine makes a
humming or clicking noise instead of the typical grinding sound; or,
seepage leaks from the sides or bottom of the machine.
The humming or
clicking sounds are usually simple repairs. If the unit jams and hums,
it might need to be reset. Most garbage disposals have a reset button
located on the bottom of the unit that will click when pressed.
thing that can save people money and the first thing they should check
if their garbage disposal doesnít make any noise at all," Mullen
Many units also
come with a tool similar to an Allen wrench, which can free up jammed
propeller blades from underneath the unit. Never put your hands or
anything in the disposal in an attempt to repair it without first
disconnecting the power or shutting off the circuit breaker.
Expect to pay
about $65 to $85 for a service call if your disposal needs repair. A
professionally installed replacement can usually be had for about
$200. For the inexperienced homeowner, installing a garbage
disposal is a job better left to an experienced appliance repair
professional or a plumber. The units are heavy and require multiple
plumbing connections and electrical wiring.
not leaking out of the hoses going to it, but itís leaking out of the
side or the bottom, thereís not a repair for that; it (needs)
replacement," Mullen said. "One thing you can do to help (keep
it clean) is occasionally put a handful of ice down the disposal and run
it with cold water. If the blades are stuck, ice will help loosen
anything in there food-wise"