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Repair or Replace? Assessing the Health of Your Garbage Disposal

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A well-functioning garbage disposal is an essential appliance in a modern kitchen, making meal cleanup more convenient and efficient. However, like any household appliance, garbage disposals can encounter problems over time. When faced with issues, homeowners often find themselves at a crossroads: should they repair the existing unit or opt for a replacement? In this article, we’ll explore the factors to consider when assessing the health of your garbage disposal, helping you make an informed decision about whether to repair or replace it.

Signs of a Troubled Garbage Disposal

Before diving into the repair versus replace dilemma, it’s important to identify the signs that your garbage disposal might be experiencing problems. Some common signs of a troubled unit include:

Strange Noises

Grinding, clanging, or rattling noises can indicate mechanical issues within the disposal.

Persistent Clogs

If your disposal frequently clogs despite proper usage, it might be struggling to break down waste.

Foul Odors

Lingering unpleasant smells, even after cleaning, could signify a buildup of food particles.


Leaking water from the disposal or beneath the sink could indicate a damaged seal or pipe connection.

Lack of Power

If the disposal doesn’t turn on at all, there might be an electrical issue or a jam preventing it from working.

Slow Draining

Water taking longer than usual to drain could indicate a blockage in the disposal or pipes.

Factors to Consider

When faced with the decision to repair or replace your garbage disposal, several factors come into play. By assessing these factors, you can make a more informed choice:

Age of the Disposal

Consider the age of your garbage disposal. If it’s relatively new and experiencing minor issues, repairs might be the more cost-effective choice. However, older disposals with frequent problems might benefit from replacement, as newer models offer improved efficiency and features.

Cost of Repairs

Get an estimate for the repair costs. If the cost of repairing the disposal is close to or exceeds the cost of a new unit, replacement might be the wiser investment.

Frequency of Issues

Evaluate how often your garbage disposal has required repairs. Frequent breakdowns could indicate a more fundamental issue that might not be resolved with a simple repair.

Extent of Damage

Consider the extent of the damage or issue. Some problems, such as minor leaks or a jammed disposal, can often be resolved with repairs. However, major mechanical or structural problems might warrant replacement.

Energy Efficiency

Newer garbage disposals are often more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. If your current unit is outdated, replacing it with a newer model could lead to energy savings over time.

Noise and Performance

If your disposal is functioning noisily or struggling to break down waste properly, replacement with a quieter and more powerful model might be worth considering.

Repairing Your Garbage Disposal

In some cases, a repair might be a straightforward and cost-effective solution. Simple problems like jams, clogs, or minor leaks can often be fixed by homeowners or a professional plumber. Here are some repair scenarios:

Jammed Disposal

A jammed garbage disposal can usually be cleared by using a hex wrench to manually turn the disposal’s flywheel. Make sure the disposal is turned off and unplugged before attempting this.


If your disposal is clogged, you can try using a plunger or a special disposal wrench to free the blockage. Running cold water while the disposal is on can help clear minor clogs.


Sometimes, a garbage disposal might trip its internal circuit breaker. Look for a reset button on the bottom of the unit and press it to reset the disposal.


If the disposal is leaking, check for loose or damaged pipe connections. Tightening connections or replacing damaged parts can often resolve the issue.

Replacing Your Garbage Disposal

There are situations where replacement becomes the more practical choice:

Extensive Damage

If your disposal has suffered severe damage, such as a cracked housing or a broken motor, replacement is likely the best option.

Age and Frequent Repairs

If your disposal is older and has required multiple repairs, it might be a sign that it’s reaching the end of its lifespan. Investing in a new unit could save you money on ongoing repairs.

Energy Efficiency

Upgrading to a newer model can improve energy efficiency and reduce your environmental impact. Look for disposals with energy-saving features and advanced grinding technology.

Performance Issues

If your current disposal struggles to break down waste properly, is excessively noisy, or lacks the features you need, it might be time to consider a replacement that suits your needs.

Jordan Air And Plumbing Can Help

When faced with a malfunctioning garbage disposal, the decision to repair or replace requires careful consideration. Factors such as the age of the unit, the extent of the damage, repair costs, and energy efficiency should guide your decision-making process. Simple problems like jams and clogs can often be repaired, while older units with frequent issues or extensive damage might benefit from replacement. Ultimately, the goal is to have a fully functional and efficient garbage disposal that contributes to the smooth operation of your kitchen and the convenience of meal cleanup. To have your garbage disposal replaced or repaired, contact Jordan Air and Plumbing.

Jordan Air and Plumbing
1165 Athens Rd
Crawford, GA 30630
(706) 769-0661


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