1. Blades Aren’t Churning Up Waste
This is one of the first signs of trouble with a garbage disposal. You put waste into the sink, turn the disposal on, and… nothing.
Things just get sort of stirred around. But, they are not chopped up and carried away in your drains. Obviously, having things that are too large for the drain pipes is a bad idea because it will clog the drains, causing a back up in your sink.
The Problem: most often, the problem is that things are being put into the garbage disposal that don’t belong. Hard seeds (like avocado), eggshells (soft, but the inner skin can tangle up the blades), nut shells, and other hard substances can dull the blades, making chopping impossible.
Solution: have a plumber replace the blades of your disposal. This will get things moving properly. But, be wary of what you put in the unit in the future to avoid dulling the blades prematurely again.
2. Straining Motor
If you hear a groaning, grinding, or any other type of “straining” sound when you run the disposal, your motor is struggling to work.
This happens most often because the blades are being impeded.
The Problem: Do you drop vegetables or egg shells into you garbage disposal? If so, this could be the cause. Certain fruits, vegetables, and other stringy food wastes can get tangled in the blades or motor. This causes it to strain, work harder than it should, and possibly burn out.
The Solution: have a professional plumber inspect and clean the motor, blades, and general area, including the drains. If there is still a problem, the unit may need to be replaced.
3. Not Turning On
The problem: Wiring issues, blown fuse, broken motor
The solution: this can be checked by a plumber or electrician. If you flip the switch and get nothing, then it can either be an electrical problem, or the unit needs to be replaced. Either way, this is not a DIY job.
4. Bad Smell
This is usually a very dangerous problem. If you are noticing a sour, or rotten smell coming from your kitchen sink, it could be an issue with your garbage disposal having food particle caught in the blades, the motor, or user the disposal in the pipes.
Oily foods, grease, coarse food waste can all slip past the blades and clog your drain, leading to a very unhealthy build up of bacteria.