How To Fix It?

Garburators, or garbage disposal units, have long been portrayed in entertainment as some kind of evil appliance, with an apparent internal desire to devour the unaware dish washing person’s fingers. In reality, it’s very unlikely to lose a hand to your sink’s garbage disposal. That being said, it doesn’t change the fact that safety and care are mandatory when it comes to your unit. That’s why we always recommend you get professional assistance with any troubleshooting, maintenance, or repairs that involve your kitchen’s garburator.

Common Garburator Issues

A garburator can be a handy way to dispose of leftover food waste without scooping it up into your compost bin by hand. However, you may find yourself in a messy situation when you go to switch on your garburator and run into a snag. In the course of our work repairing garburators across all of Langley BC, Vancouver, the Tri-Cities, and the Lower Mainland, we’ve run into a few major issues again and again. Some of the most common garbage disposal unit issues we see are:

- Garburator isn’t turning on

Probably the most obvious problem to do with garbage disposal units, a garburator that simply won’t turn on is often a sign of an electrical issue. A garburator’s power supply is sometimes controlled by a regular switch somewhere in the kitchen, which can be accidentally flipped. Ensure that this isn’t the source of the problem, and that the breaker for the garburator’s circuit hasn’t been tripped. Assuming these solutions don’t fix your problem, it’s a good idea to have a technician take a look at it. Your entire garbage disposal unit may simply have reached the end of its lifespan and burnt out, which will mean it’s time for a replacement.

- Jammed garburator is causing slow grinding and draining

When operating normally, your garburator should be making short work of just about anything you toss into it, grinding food matter of all types in a matter of seconds. If you notice your garbage disposal unit is taking an unusually long time to handle normal amounts of food waste, it usually means one of two things.

Culprit number one is likely to be a dull set of blades. Although the grinding blades will get duller as time goes on, buildup of food debris will also cause them to stop working as effectively. Culprit number two is likely a clogged drain just past the garburator itself. In both cases, the time it takes your unit to grind waste, and drain water, will increase drastically. The best way to prevent your garburator from becoming dull, or taking too long to drain, is to avoid using it for a few key types of food waste:

  • Grease and fats – From bacon grease to butter, you should never dump these down the drain, whether or not you have a garburator. Not only can these back up your pipes and create major plumbing-related headaches down the line, but they can easily gunk up the grinding blades of your sink garbage disposal unit and stop them from working effectively.
  • Stringy or starchy food waste – This list of fibre-rich foods are great for your diet, but terrible for any electronic garbage disposal system. Because of the long, durable fibres in certain food waste, as well as the high starch content in others, your grind ring can become clogged or tangled up, causing it to not work properly. Some of the main offenders for fibrous and starchy food to avoid tossing in the garburator include:
    – Banana peels
    – Corn husks
    – Potato skins
    – Lettuce
    – Celery
  • Bones – This one seems obvious, but even the smallest chicken wing bone should never, ever go down your sink’s drain. Your garburator isn’t designed to grind up bones to the degree that they’ll need to be to drain properly, and is more likely to fracture it into countless sharp fragments that are sure to cause later issues.
  • Fruit pits – Pits of any kind will simply not break down much, and are much more likely to create a serious blockage in your pipes.
  • Non-food waste – It should go without saying, but having a garburator is not an excuse to try to flush non-food garbage down the drain. Avoid plastic bags, wooden skewers, styrofoam, and anything of that nature.
  • Excessive amounts of anything – Overall, you should be careful to not overestimate the capabilities of your garbage disposal unit. It’s perfect for getting rid of a few things at a time, or clearing the bottom of your sink after a round of dishes. But overuse of a garburator is sure to overload the system, and either stop your unit in its tracks, or create a blockage in your plumbing.

- Gross odour coming from drain

A garburator is a handy kitchen tool, but not when it makes your entire kitchen smell like a compost pile. If your unit is emanating a foul odour, there’s probably some kind of blockage in the pipes, or in the unit itself. If this is the case, you’ll need a garburator repair technician’s help to remove, disassemble, and thoroughly clean the unit, as well as clear the pipe below it.

- Strange noises while using the garburator

There’s no denying that a sink garbage disposer is a noisy bit of machinery, but you should be able to tell when a noise is normal, and when it’s a sign of something wrong. The most important sound to be on the lookout for is any serious grinding, especially if it sounds like metal on metal. This usually means some kind of foreign object has fallen in, such as a piece of cutlery, jewelry, or a skewer or toothpick. If it’s clear of objects, something in the unit itself may be out of place. Again, your technician will disassemble it, and make sure everything is sitting where it’s meant to be, or else recommend a replacement unit.

- Leaking garbage disposal unit

A leaking garburator is a very gross, but a fairly simple fix. Depending on where the waste water concoction is leaking from, it may be as simple as replacing an O-ring seal, or else tightening connections between the unit, your sink, and your plumbing line. If your sink garbage disposal unit is leaking, you run the risk of creating a much more complicated and expensive problem by continuing to use it. Until you’re able to have a professional take a look, we recommend sticking to the compost bin.


About Starfix

Although DIY garburator repair might be tempting, we can’t advise against reaching into your disposal unit enough. While the media portrayal of devilish appliances claiming whole limbs is a complete myth, you still run the risk of serious injury by attempting to handle fixes for this unit yourself.

Rather than putting yourself into harm’s way, let the professionals take care of it. At Starfix, our team consists of industry professionals with extensive scientific knowledge about the machinery that sink garbage disposal units are made of. This knowledge we possess can be used for just about every other major appliance found in a home. If you’re experiencing any of the above problems, or anything else to do with the upkeep and repair of your garburator unit, reach out to Starfix today!