Typical Garbage Disposal Failings


Typical Garbage Disposal Failings

Garbage disposals are appliances used for shredding food scrap waste to prevent clogs in the plumbing.  They are also useful in reducing waste if one is not using food scraps to feed animals or use as compost for garden soil.  


My job during a home inspection is to inspect and operate all built-in appliances. A built-in appliance is one that is attached to the floor, counter, sink, or wall. The garbage disposal meets that description so it is part of the home inspection. During the inspection I am looking for proper function and safety concerns. I am not, however, looking for effectiveness in grinding. The following photos represent where I often find garbage disposals failing: 

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A damaged splash guard: This guard prevents food waste and water from splashing back out of the disposal


Leaks at the sink flange connection are common with disposals

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Leaks also often occur from the bottom of the disposal

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Cracks often result in the casing due to age, wear and tear, or when an object in the disposal hits the casing


Leaks also happen where the dishwasher drain is sometimes connected to the disposal



Often the wires for the disposal are not secure and are exposed.  Exposed and loose wires pose a safety concern

Also, part of my job is to operate the disposal. When operating the appliance I am listening for abnormal noise and looking for and feeling for abnormal vibration.  Loud noises and vibration can be an indication of something trapped in the disposal that the disposal cannot shred, misaligned components inside the disposal, or a loose connection to the sink itself. 


Since disposals are typically out of sight they are therefore out of mind, and any problems such as leaks or damage to the casing often then go unnoticed. Hence the reason I have photos like the ones above and the reason I inspect this appliance when they are present in the home.  A periodic inspection of your disposal will help catch defects sooner and prevent damage to the cabinet area.  When you really want to know, contact Adam Duncan of Duncan Home Inspection Services. It would be my pleasure to serve you!