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Do I Need a Houston Plumber? The Garbage Disposal Blues

Garbage Disposal

Do you have a case of the garbage disposal blues? As a Houston plumber we can help!

Garbage disposals are notorious for going out right when we need them, like before a big dinner party or after a long day of meal prepping, but never fear! Our team is on your side and available 24/7 for these plumbing emergencies. However, there are some things you can try before giving us a call for Houston garbage disposal repair!

When to call a Houston Plumber for Garbage Disposal Problems

First, let’s talk about some sure signs you need professional help for your garbage disposal. Call your Houston plumber if you notice any of the following issues. 

If you suspect the motor is burnt out on your garbage disposal, then it’s best to give us a call for replacement. Fixing the motor is typically more time and money than the unit is really worth, so it’s probably time for a new one. 

If the garbage disposal works, but isn’t grinding very well, then it’s likely an issue with the blades. Replacing the blades on garbage disposal usually isn’t a very time- or cost-effective way to fix this issue. In these cases, it’s time to have your Houston plumber replace your garbage disposal. The other issue that could cause this is that the unit simply isn’t up to the task for your needs, so you may need a new one with a higher capacity.

Also, if the disposal isn’t draining, then you likely have a plumbing problem. Most of the time, it’s a drain clog and not anything to do with the disposal. If you run into this problem, it’s best to get help from your Houston plumbing company. Don’t send chemical drain cleaners down the drain. These don’t typically work, can permanently damage your disposal, and may also void the disposal’s manufacturer warranty.

Troubleshooting Tips to Try Before Calling a Houston Plumber

The great thing about garbage disposals is that most issues are typically easy fixes. Depending on the problem, you may be able to take care of it yourself. 

Before trying any do-it-yourself repairs, remember to always turn off the power to the disposal and never (ever) put your hand down the disposal. Even if you’re absolutely sure it has no power going to it, if it accidentally turns on you could hurt yourself. 

Now, onto the garbage disposal troubleshooting steps to take before getting your Houston plumber involved. 

Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on at all, usually this means it’s not getting any power. There are a few things you can try to help fix this problem. 

First, make sure it’s plugged in. This might sound obvious, but it’s one of the more common reasons people call for Houston garbage disposal repair. If it’s been in place for years, you might be thinking “how would it have unplugged itself?” We get it, but stranger things have happened at sea and it’s a quick and easy thing to check. 

Also, your garbage disposal may have overheated. When this happens, it’s designed to switch itself off. Most of the time this is because you’ve overfilled it. On the unit, look for a red button and try pushing it in to help fix the problem. 

Next, try checking to see if you have a flipped circuit breaker. Usually, the dishwasher and the garbage disposal are on the same breaker. If you do find that it’s flipped, simply flip it back on and test out the disposal.

Now, if these don’t work, then there’s usually one of two things happening. First is that your disposal motor is burnt out. Usually, it’s easier and cheaper to have your Houston plumber replace the garbage disposal when this happens.

The other issue that could be happening has to do with your home’s electrical system. Maybe some wires have come loose or there’s a more serious problem. In these cases, it’s usually best to call an electrician for help.

Humming Noises, but Not Working

What if your garbage disposal is humming but not grinding anything? There is a quick fix you can try before calling your Houston plumber for garbage disposal repair! 

Typically if the disposal is humming without doing anything, that means you have power, but something is jamming the blades. Common things that we find jamming garbage disposals include bones and fruit pits. You can usually clear the jam yourself. 

However, if you drop something important down the disposal drain, like your wedding ring, don’t try this DIY garbage disposal repair tip! Don’t run water and leave the disposal off. Then call your plumber. We may be able to take the disposal apart and save your precious item before it gets ground up and damaged or lost through the drain pipes.

Now, if your garbage disposal is jammed, make sure you turn off the disposal. Letting it continue humming along can actually burn out the motor. 

Next, you’ll need a ¼” allen (hex) wrench. Under the sink, you’ll be able to insert the wrench into the garbage disposal unit. Simply turn the wrench back and forth a few times to try to dislodge whatever is causing the jam. Once you can turn it freely without a lot of effort, turn the power back on to the disposal.

To help prevent the object from jamming the disposal again, turn the water on and turn your disposal on in short bursts. This can help send the problem object down the drain. 

If this doesn’t work, then you may need Houston garbage disposal repair. Typically this involves dismantling the disposal to rid it of the offender, whether it be a seed, a stringy vegetable, or your grandmother’s heirloom ring. 

Bad Smells

Obviously when you’re dumping food bits down the disposal and grinding them up things can get a bit… stinky. Luckily, all you need to do for this is a bit of a cleaning session. 

Often, a bad smell doesn’t even have anything to do with the disposal itself. If you look at the drain, you’ll probably notice some black rubber pieces. These are splash guards that are notorious for picking up bad-smelling gunk. You can clean these with a bit of soap and a toothbrush. Be sure to lightly scrub the visible area and underneath!

Garbage disposals are actually pretty easy to clean. To help remove gunk, fill the disposal with ice and about a cup of rock or kosher salt (the coarse stuff). Then run some water and turn on the disposal. This can help get out the nasty grime and debris that could be causing the smell. 

Follow up by running some warm water while you grind a quartered lemon chunk. This can help deodorize your garbage disposal.

However, if it’s smelling, particularly rank and these steps don’t help, there might be something more serious going on, so give us a call for Houston garbage disposal repair. 

Weird Noises

What if your garbage disposal is making noises you don’t think it should? First, check with a flashlight to see if there’s something there that shouldn’t be. If there is, grab it with a pair of tongs or pliers and try again. 

If you’ve still got abnormal noises coming from the garbage disposal, then it’s likely time to call a Houston plumber to find and fix the problem. 

Avoid Houston Garbage Disposal Repair with Proper Care!

Unless your garbage disposal is really old, most of the time problems are because of improper use. There are a lot of things most people don’t realize can break disposals! So, keep some things in mind to help avoid frequent problems and repairs.

Keep these things out of your disposal unless you want to pay for Houston garbage disposal repair:

  • Fats and greases
  • Bones
  • Fruit pits
  • Shells 
  • Coffee grounds
  • Stringy veggies like celery and pumpkin
  • Potato peels
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Onion skins
  • Eggshells
  • Non-food items like glass, metal, or rubber

Any and all of these items can damage your garbage disposal or clog your drains. Also, be careful not to overfill the disposal and run cool water when using it. These are easy garbage disposal care tips to help you keep yours in great condition. 

Expert Houston Plumber to Solve Garbage Disposal Woes

Next time you have issues with your garbage disposal, give our team at Santhoff a call! Our expert plumbers are here to help you with your plumbing blues. Since 1974, we’ve been delivering trusted, practical, and affordable plumbing services to help you keep your home in great shape. Call us at (713) 360-2185 to schedule service or request emergency plumbing repairs!

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