Your garbage disposal simplifies kitchen clean-up by shredding food waste into small scraps that can fit through plumbing, keeping the sink clean, and reducing waste. Like other appliances, daily use will take a toll on the system, and eventually, it will start to malfunction. Look out for these signs that it's time to replace a well-used disposal. 

How to Tell Your Garbage Disposal Requires Replacing

1. Strange Smells

garbage disposal

Your garbage disposal processes water and food, so it’s bound to produce unpleasant odors as the debris breaks down. However, if the smell persists, even after rinsing it out with water, cleaners, ice and vinegar, or citrus peels, it’s time to contact a plumber.

In some cases, a professional cleaning will do the other job. In others, food particles might be trapped deep in the disposal's surfaces, making replacement the best option.

2. Failure to Turn On

If the unit doesn’t turn on, there might be an electrical issue. For systems that plug into an outlet, ensure that it’s firmly connected and check the circuit breaker to rule out a blown fuse. In addition, try pressing the reset button located at the bottom of the disposal. If the unit still doesn’t turn on, the motor might be burnt out, and replacing it will be the most cost-effective option.

3. Leaks

The location of the system leak will indicate the severity of the problem. If the leak is coming from the top, it might be due to a loose connection or a damaged seal where the unit connects to the drain. Plumbers can easily repair this issue. However, if the leak comes from the disposal unit itself, it could be cracked and have a damaged internal seal. In such cases, professionals will most likely recommend a replacement.


For expert plumbing solutions, rely on Foster Plumbing, Inc. in Tucson, AZ. For over 30 years, they’ve provided various services, including garbage disposal repairs and installations, drain cleaning, 24/7 drain line repairs, and backflow testing. They also install kitchen and bathroom fixtures and service sewers and drains. Whether you need routine or emergency assistance, call (520) 603-3817. Go online for a complete list of their services.