Garbage disposals are efficient kitchen appliances that help keep your home tidy and hygienic by safely eliminating food waste. Not only do these appliances help keep your kitchen clean, but they also reduce the chances of clogged pipes. While most garbage disposals are durable and can swiftly process food waste, these devices can become defective and start making unusual sounds. As with any malfunctioning appliance, different sounds can signify the exact cause of the problem and help professionals determine the best approach for fixing it. One of the most troubling sounds that your garbage disposal can make is a loud grinding noise. A look at the top reasons for grinding sounds can guide you to contact an expert for professional repairs.

How Do Garbage Disposals Work?

Garbage disposals are standard appliances in contemporary kitchens. Although these appliances can make soft humming noises during operation, they should never emit loud or clanging sounds. Modern disposal models make little to no noise at all. Understanding how garbage disposals work can help you quickly target when something is amiss in the operation of your machine.

The garbage disposal is installed directly below your sink and collects small pieces of solid food waste. Garbage disposals operate using two cylindrical chambers known as the upper chamber and the lower chamber. The upper chamber initially holds the food waste when it first enters the disposal, and the lower chamber is the grinding area for this waste. When you turn on the disposal, it activates a spinning disc with attachments called “impellers,” which begins to turn rapidly. Also known as the impeller plate, this device crushes and pulverizes food in the lower or grinding chamber. Contrary to popular belief, a garbage disposal does not have sharp or knife-like blades that cut food. Instead, impellers crush suitable kinds of food for easier disposal.

Once the impeller plate has crushed the food sufficiently, the pulverized pieces pass through a waste line attached to the bottom of the lower chamber. The waste line allows food waste to flow out into a drainpipe located outside of the home. This efficient process takes place in minutes, and it helps keep your household clean by preventing stockpiles of rotting food in the trash bags or garbage bins of your home.

What Is the Top Reason Garbage Disposals Make Grinding Noises?

It is natural to feel alarmed if you hear a grinding noise from your garbage disposal. However, this sound often has a straightforward explanation. The top cause of a grinding sound in the garbage disposal is a major obstruction. Any obstruction can inhibit the functional rotation of the impeller plate. Items frequently responsible for obstructions can include cutlery or utensils, kitchen tools, glass, stray metal, or bones. However, sometimes toys or other non-kitchen items accidentally fall down the drain. Since the garbage disposal cannot crush or pulverize such materials, they can cause the blades to begin jamming and create a grinding noise due to the blockage.

While it may feel tempting to stick your hand into the drain or use tongs or pliers to retrieve obstructions, you should avoid tackling this issue yourself. For one, attempting to blindly pull items from a dark garbage disposal can result in exposure to sharp or unexpected objects. This can lead to cuts or personal injury. Second, garbage disposals use electricity for operation and also have direct contact with water. If the appliance malfunctions, you could find yourself at risk of electric shock. Plumbers have the training and tools necessary to fix the garbage disposal without posing a risk to you or your family.

What Are Other Common Reasons Garbage Disposal Make Grinding Sounds>

If a plumber discovers that no hard objects or obstructions are jamming your garbage disposal, then the grinding sounds may come from other possible sources. Common problems that cause grinding sounds may include the following:

  • Loose blades or bolts hitting each other
  • Loosened bearings grinding together
  • Loose rivets that cause the plate to wobble
  • Broken component inside the motor
  • Loose or freewheeling capacitor

Depending on the disposal model, these problems range from simple to complex. For example, a plumber may quickly identify loosened bearings and complete repairs. But if the grinding sounds result from manufacturer defects with the impeller plate or motor assembly itself, it may make more sense to replace the garbage disposal altogether. If you attempt to continue to use the garbage disposal despite grinding sounds, you can risk the unit overheating and eventually burning out.

How Do I Avoid Grinding Sounds in the Future?

The first way to avoid grinding sounds is to eliminate any objects that can cause obstructions within your garbage disposal. Manufacturers warn that certain items can never go down the garbage disposal. Some of these items include chicken bones, coffee grounds, nuts, or fruit and vegetable pits. Less obvious substances like grease, oil, or paint should also never go down a garbage disposal. These liquids can harden and create clogs that can jam the pulverizing mechanism of your appliance.

Tough or fibrous vegetables like pumpkin, corn husks, onion skins, or potato peels can tangle in your impellers and also create clogs or obstructions. Similarly, you should never push down animal products like eggshells, oyster shells, or the hard shells of crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. These protective shells are too sharp or hard to pulverize correctly, and they can damage the internal components of your garbage disposal. Likewise, you should never pour harsh chemicals or commercial drain cleaners into the garbage disposal. These cleaners contain abrasive ingredients that wear down the impellers and can eventually deteriorate the drain line.

How Do Service Professionals Help Fix Garbage Disposal Problems?

Plumbers and home services professionals can fix grinding sounds that result from a jammed impeller plate. This process can include disassembling the appliance and using industrial-grade wrenches to remove any hard or hidden objects. Furthermore, a professional can also check related issues that may cause grinding or scratching sounds. This includes identifying defects in garbage disposal mounting or pipe connections. They might detect there may also be electrical problems associated with the grinding sound. For example, if the internal circuit breaker tripping accompanies the grinding noise, the symptom can mean either an obstruction or an electrical short circuit. In these instances, a plumber can determine whether repairs are appropriate or if it is more practical to replace the unit. Finally, a professional can inspect the garbage disposal during each annual home service inspection to ensure the unit operates correctly.

Get Help Today

Garbage disposals are practical appliances for every modern kitchen. However, these units can become problematic if they begin to make loud grinding sounds. Give yourself peace of mind by contacting our professionals for help. Paradise Home Services provides expert plumbing services for homes in Navarre, Panama City Beach, and the surrounding areas. We can inspect and repair your existing garbage disposal or install a new appliance as needed. Our plumbers can also fix clogged drains, broken pipes, and sewer lines to restore your plumbing network to excellent condition. We also offer maintenance for water heaters and can install tankless water heaters, turn to us for plumbing solutions.

Contact Paradise Home Services today for all plumbing repair needs.


company icon