Informational Post

How Long Do Garbage Disposals Last?

Although regular upkeep increases life expectancy of any Garbage disposal unit, how long do garbage disposals last exactly? We take a look so you know what to expect.

by Josh Mitchell

Garbage disposal units are designed to break down food scraps, among other things, to ensure that the sink remains clean and the drainage stays unclogged. However, after extended use, these units can start acting up.  

According to the “International Association of Certified Home Inspectors,” garbage disposals can last for at least 12-years. However, life expectancy differs from model to model. Apart from that, regular upkeep also adds a good few useable years to your garbage disposal.  

So, do you want to know how long do garbage disposals last? Read on! 

Though many factors impact the life of garbage disposals, the following three elements matter the most: 

  • Usage Of Garbage Disposal 
    Mainly, the entire focus is on what is being put into the garbage disposal and how often it is used.  If you use the garbage disposal regularly, the blades and motor may not be in the best condition and may need some upkeep. Additionally, severed parts may hinder functionality and lead to a lesser lifespan.   
  • Quality Of The Garbage Disposal Unit 
    Here’s a quick fact: modern garbage disposers last much longer than most of the older variants. Therefore, if you buy a heavy-duty new unit rather than an outdated, cheaper option, you’re making a wise investment, capable of lasting for a more extended period.   
  • Things That Are Put Into Garbage Disposal 
    One of the most crucial factors that impact the lifespan of your garbage disposer is the amount and type of items it has to power through. For example, if you put fiber-rich and greasy foods regularly, the chances are that blades, as well as the motor, will get negatively impacted. On the other hand, a unit that just breaks down vegetables and fruits will have its parts intact.  
garbage disposal installation

How Long Do Garbage Disposals Usually Last On Average? 

The number of years garbage disposals last before they are beyond repair differs primarily based on several factors. These include but aren’t limited to usage frequency, type of grinding, the kind of waste, and whether the manufacturer’s recommended upkeep procedures are being followed or not. 

Nevertheless, the average garbage disposer should last anywhere around 10 to 12-year for a normal-sized home that focuses on frequent cleaning and upkeep of the appliance. Of course, this doesn’t account for households allowing items barred from placing into the unit, such as celery, grease, bones, etc.   

However, you can extend the lifespan of your appliance by taking certain steps. For example, with proper maintenance and care, you can increase the lifespan of your garbage disposal to anywhere between 15-20 years.  

Wondering how long do InSinkErator garbage disposals last?  

Well, the lifespan of an InSinkErator garbage disposer is better than other brands; plus, they are backed with generous warranties. Being a premium, and reliable garbage disposal brand, typically, their units can last between 10-15 years and may require only minor maintenance and repairs.   


How To Extend The Life Of A Garbage Disposal Unit 

It’s a given: with proper maintenance, you can extend the life of garbage disposal. But how exactly?  

Here are three practical ways all homeowners can use: 

Daily Maintenance  

Make sure to use your unit regularly. That’s because frequent usage can minimize debris build-up, particularly when soap is used while it functions.  

Weekly Maintenance 

Every week, fill the sink with clean cold water. When the kitchen sink gets full, remove the drain plug so that the water flows down the drain. This way, you can clear away all sorts of unwanted, lingering materials from your appliance.  

Monthly Maintenance 

Monthly garbage disposer maintenance includes a three-step process:  

  • 1
    Drop some ice into your sink, and let it sit for a while. After that, wash it down with ice-cold water, enabling ice to permeate the drain so that it can melt away slowly 
  • 2
    Take out the drain baffle, in case you’ve one. Clean it carefully and thoroughly before putting it back 
  • 3
    Pour half a cup of vinegar as well as baking soda into the grinding chamber. Then top it with boiling water 

All in all, if you regularly clean your garbage disposal and keep it, you’ll enjoy years of flawless performance.  

plumbers installing under sink

When Should You Replace Your Garbage Disposal? (Signs Of Failing Disposal) 

Functioning garbage disposals help keep the sink as well as pipes clean and clear. However, if the unit acts up, it can affect how you cook, do the dishes, and keep the kitchen clean. 

With that said, some garbage disposer issues can be addressed, whereas some problems may lead to complete replacements. There are certain tell-tales of failing garbage disposals like frequent resets, bizarre clogs, jams, etc. 

Are you still wondering how to know whether your broken-down garbage disposal requires replacement or not? If so, read on! 

Abnormal Loud Noises  

Garbage disposers can be quite loud when they have pieces of silverware within them. Therefore, inspect by hand when you hear a clanking sound and use a flashlight for better visibility; fish around for an evident source such as the lost spoon.  

If no apparent obstructions are there, chances are the garbage disposal’s parts are misaligned. In such instances, a quick modification can address the issue.  

Overall, it’s crucial to resolve new garbage disposal sounds quickly as the motor can be impacted.   

Frequent Resets 

The appliance’s ‘reset’ button gets activated when uncommon situations occur, such as large clogs or loads. However, if the waste disposer is in top shape, there is no need to reset the unit.   

But if frequent resets are required, it means the unit is aging out. Apart from that, another common reason for repeated resets is ‘loose wiring.’ To address it safely, call in an electrician or a plumber.  

Inexplicable Clogs  

To avoid potential clogs, always crush food scraps into tiny particles before putting them through the disposal unit. But, regardless of how tiny the particles are, they eventually begin blocking the drainage.  

In some instances, clogs can signal that you need a higher-capacity appliance. In other cases, these jams may suggest a breakdown in the garbage disposal.  

No Power/Won’t Turn On 

If the garbage disposer refuses to switch on or shuts off automatically while operational, you should check whether the related fuse has blown.  

If the electrical system is not at fault, schedule an inspection of your unit. Typically, these inexplicable power problems suggest a defective motor — either it’s blown out or on borrowed time.    

Persistent Odors/Bad Smell 

Typically, garbage disposal units tend to have unpleasant odors originated from the crushing of food scraps. But, many of these odors can be removed with some gentle cleaning and rinsing.  

If nothing appears to do justice, call a professional who would take the unit apart to seek the source and remove it. It’s vital to remember that you shouldn’t resort to using chemical cleaners while operating the disposal. Because using such solvents can damage your unit’s components and blades.  

Poor Performance  

Most loads should go through the disposal quickly. However, if they’re taking excessive time, the blade may need to be sharpened or replaced.  

In some instances, if blades report being excessively decayed, the entire unit may need to be replaced. Therefore, consult a professional on what should be done.  

Water Is Leaking 

Over time, you may witness water seeping through some garbage disposal parts used to connect it with the plumbing system. If not addressed in time, you may need to buy a new unit.  

These leakages may leave puddles under the kitchen sink and by the cabinet. Also, there are good chances that you mistake a sink or dishwasher leakage for a garbage disposal leak. Thus, call a professional plumber to find the source.  

Furthermore, if you happen to notice a combination of the above signs such as abnormal loud noises, frequent resets, inexplicable clogs, along with water leaks, immediately call a plumber for assessment.  

garbage disposal connection

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can you still use the sink if the garbage disposal is broken? 

Yes, you can use the sink if the garbage disposal is broken, however, with a few cautions. Because your dishwasher also depends on the garbage disposer for draining. Even if the disposal is broken, it’s attached to the drain and enables greywater from your dishwasher to flow through it into the drain.    

How much does it cost to replace a garbage disposal? 

Garbage disposals typically range between $55 to $255 and up based on the brand and size you choose to replace and install. Nevertheless, along with labor charges, be ready to pay anywhere between $110 to $550.  

How long does it take to replace a garbage disposal? 

Replacing garbage disposals may take anywhere between 3 to 5-hour on average, based on:  

  • If the current plumbing can accommodate the new disposer  
  • If an electrical receptacle or outlet is close or not 
  • The overall sink conditions 
  • The new garbage disposal’s size as well as the type 
Do home warranties cover garbage disposals? 

Yes, home warranties cover garbage disposals. Home warranty companies offering garbage disposers typically protect every component of the unit. In addition to that, if your appliance breaks down and involves some plumbing issue, the warranty remains applicable.  


Conclusion

On average, garbage disposals should last anywhere between 10 to 12 years. However, with proper care, cleaning, and maintenance, you can extend your unit’s lifespan up to 15 to 20-years.  

Nevertheless, the lifespan of garbage disposals varies and depends on many things such as usage frequency, items placed into the unit, quality of the disposer, etc.  

Josh enjoys researching, testing and diving into home improvement & DIY products. He has a passion for tools, learning new skills and fixing the everyday problems that arise around the house.

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