5 Minute Assessments

Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals have an upper and a lower chamber, separated by metal shredders. Once shredded, food waste flows easily through your plumbing.

The biggest issues are jams and clogs. Avoid putting in hard or fibrous foods, such as husks and bones. Or gummy or expanding foods, such as banana peels and pasta. Never put your hands in the disposal.

Typical costs
Repair: $65 – $150
Replace: $150 – $950

Lifespan: 5 – 12 years

Steps to Assess Your Garbage Disposal


Step 1: Always run cold water through your disposal while it’s on. Cold water keeps fats and oils from congealing on the blades and helps food waste move through your plumbing. This keeps the blades and chambers clean, controlling unwanted odors.


Step 2: If your disposal jams, don’t put your hand inside, even if the power is off. A jammed blade can cause serious injury when tension is released.


Step 3: If you can see the obstruction, remove it with pliers. If not, check the bottom of the disposal for a socket to turn the blades.


Step 4: If this doesn’t work, try plunging your sink to clear the jam.


Step 5: If your disposal doesn’t work after a jam, you may need to reset it. There’s usually a reset button on the bottom of the unit. Turn the switch to the off position, then press the reset button.