How to Tell if Your Garbage Disposal Needs to Be Replaced

Garbage disposals are a handy tool in any kitchen that makes disposing of food waste a breeze. So, if your garbage disposal is struggling, it may be time to consider a replacement. Here are a few signs it may be time to say goodbye to your old garbage disposal and say hello to a new unit.

Unit Won’t Power On

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on at all, the first thing you should do is listen. Does it make a humming sound when it is switched on, but the blades aren’t turning? If so, there is a clog.

Unplug the unit, and then use a pair of tongs to remove anything stuck inside. If this doesn’t work, try turning the blades from the bottom with an Allen Wrench.

If your unit isn’t making any sound at all when you turn it on, check to make sure it is plugged in. Next, press the reset button and make sure it is firmly depressed. Finally, check your circuit breaker and make sure the circuit leading to your garbage disposal hasn’t been tripped.

If none of these suggestions have worked, your garbage disposal likely needs to be replaced.

Unpleasant Odor

Anytime you are disposing of old food through your disposal, there is bound to be an unpleasant scent. But, if this doesn’t go away with a bit of hot water and dish detergent, then you may have a problem. Sometimes food waste can get stuck badly enough in your disposal that if the scent doesn’t go away on its own, replacement may be the only solution.


There are two main areas for a disposal to leak, and this is the top and bottom. If your disposal seems to be leaking from the top, this is likely damage to the flange seal or putty, and this is easily replaced. However, if the leak is from the bottom, this likely means a damaged seal inside the unit, and this usually costs more to fix than replace.

Slow Draining

Even when your disposal seems to be running fine, you may find water seems to be taking its time to drain. Often, this is caused by clogs inside the garbage disposal unit as well as ones further down the line.

Your first step should be to try turning the blades from the bottom, and if this doesn’t speed up draining, it’s time to try plunging. Fill your sink up partway and begin forcefully plunging the drain. Afterward, drain the water and run your sink on hot for a minute or two, and if it is still draining slowly, it may be time for a replacement.

Final Thoughts

Buying a new garbage disposal can be costly, but it is often the only solution. No garbage disposal was made to last forever, and if you have tried every solution and it still isn’t working properly, it may be time for a replacement.

Contact Us

If your garbage disposal is giving you a hard time or needs a replacement, contact J Griffin Heating & Plumbing. Call us at 781-520-1212 and connect with us on Facebook.