How Long Do Garbage Disposals Last?

Overflowing kitchen sink due to broken garbage disposal

Garbage disposals typically last for a decade. Some might fail earlier while others continue to serve for up to 15 years. Factors that affect their lifespan include the quality of the unit, the items placed into it, and the frequency of use. To increase garbage disposal longevity, avoid putting down bones, nuts, and other hard objects. Keep oil, grease, and non-food items away from them as well. Many ask us “How long do garbage disposals last?”. If you notice the following signs, then your garbage disposal may be due for repair or replacement.

Explore Our Garbage Disposal Services Call To Schedule A Free, In-Home Estimate

Is It Time For A New Garbage Disposal?

In this article, we discuss how long your garbage disposal should last and some of the tell-tale signs that your unit is due for a garbage disposal replacement.

1. Unusual Noises From The Garbage Disposal Unit

The sound of a properly working garbage disposal is that of a constant hum. If you have owned the unit for a while, then you are probably familiar with how it behaves. You also know the kinds of noise it makes when shredding different food. If you notice something unusual such as a loud racket or metallic clang, then use a flashlight to check whether a spoon slipped inside. Misaligned components can also cause this disturbance and damage the motor. You can ask a plumber to investigate and adjust as needed.

Call Today: (610) 351-9889

2. A Persistent Foul Odor Coming From The Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals experience frequent exposure to organic matter and moisture. This makes them prone to develop unpleasant odors but regular cleaning should take care of it. If you clean diligently yet the bad smell persists, then a deeper problem may be present. Some people will try to use harsh chemicals to solve it but this is not advisable. The chemicals can damage the components, the blades, and the plumbing pipes. Call a plumber for help in taking the unit apart to find the source. Trapped food particles are the likely culprit.


3. A Nonfunctional Garbage Disposal

One of the most obvious signs that something is wrong is dead unit. The appliance does not move after switching it on. This may be a problem with the wiring, the circuits, or the motor. You may also see the unit turn on only to automatically shut off in the middle of its task. This requires careful handling so do not attempt to fix it yourself. Ask an expert to come by and inspect the garbage disposal as soon as possible.

4. Cracks And Leaks Around The Garbage Disposal Unit

Plumber fixing a garbage disposal

Mechanical stress can take its toll on the garbage disposal. It can develop cracks that may lead to leaks in the kitchen. You may see puddles on the floor near the sink. It is difficult for the untrained eye to distinguish between a sink leak and a disposal leak. A plumber can come in to make the correct diagnosis. Fixing the problem is easier after finding the source.

5. The Need To Reset The Garbage Disposal All The Time

The reset button of a garbage disposal is helpful in allowing the unit to bounce back quickly from difficulties. For example, this is handy when dealing with clogs or heavy loads. Just remember that resetting isn’t the norm. A perfectly functional machine will not need it often. If you find yourself depending on resets all the time, then diagnose the underlying issue with the help of a qualified expert.

Learn More About Our Garbage Disposal Services Call To Schedule A Free Estimate

6. Jamming Despite Small Loads

The motor has an easier time shredding food when given small loads. If the disposal gets jammed, then consider reducing the amount placed into the appliance. This should make everything flow smoothly. If the jam does not go away despite having trivial loads, then the machine clearly has a problem. For new installations, it could indicate a quality or capacity issue. For old devices, it may point to a malfunction that needs repair.

7. Noticeable Reduction In Performance

garbage disposal

The device should run quickly with reasonable loads. You know what to expect when you use it. If it is performing with less efficiency than before, then dull blades are the likely cause. Sharpening is the fastest solution. However, this is not always sufficient. When faced with widespread damage, the best option is to replace the whole device and start fresh. If unsure about what to do, then get the professional opinion of a trusted local plumber.

Call To Schedule A Free Estimate

8. An Aging Garbage Disposal Unit That Needs A Refresh

Although a disposal can last beyond 10 years, wear and tear will start becoming more noticeable down the stretch. The unit may give more headaches than owners can bear such as recurring leaks, clogs, and failures. It is prudent to let the aging unit retire and get a brand new replacement before this happens. For those who are planning a kitchen makeover, this could be included in the list of tasks.



Garbage disposals are highly useful appliances that break food down on its way to the pipes. They reduce the chances of clogs and keep the sink clean. Owners can even rely on them to serve for a decade. However, they are still machines with moving parts that can fail at any time. Call a plumber for help in repairs and replacements.

Call Robinson Plumbing For All Of Your Plumbing Requirements

Robinson Plumbing Logo
Contact Robinson Plumbing, one of the most trusted plumbing companies in the Lehigh Valley, for reliable plumbing services. We offer various plumbing services ranging from water heater replacements, garbage disposal repairs and installations, toilet repairs and replacements, water leak repairs, and more. We always give a wide range of solutions when possible for any plumbing repairs. This allows you to choose the best options for your budget and home.

We proudly offer the most affordable and best plumbing services in the Lehigh Valley area. Our plumbers all have the proper licenses and expertise to ensure your satisfaction. All of our work comes with a guarantee. Contact Robinson Plumbing today and schedule your free estimate.

Call Now: (610) 351-9889 Read Our Testimonials

Call us today at (610) 351-9889 or click here to contact us for any questions that you might have!