How Much It'll Cost You To Repair A Garbage Disposal

Before estimating how much a garbage disposal repair will cost you, it's important to determine which part of the disposal is malfunctioning. A repairperson should ask questions about what's happening to determine what the fix should be and whether the problem is with plumbing or electricity. There are usually several common signs your disposal isn't working, and these signs are clues to where the problem lies.

First, if the disposal won't turn on, there are usually three possible reasons for this: electrical issues (such as the power cord being unplugged or a malfunctioning power source), a broken motor, or a clog in the drain. You should first check that the power cord for the disposal is plugged in and check the breaker for blown fuses, as well as press your disposal's reset button. 

If the disposal still doesn't turn on, it may mean the motor is broken, and your disposal may need to be replaced. The cost will be based on the model you choose to have installed, but usually, a total replacement will cost between $50 and $350.

Jammed disposal or clogged drain?

Second scenario: the disposal makes a whirring or humming noise when you turn it on but doesn't actually start to work as usual. It's possible an object (possibly a utensil or a piece of food) is jamming the disposal mechanism and needs to be cleaned out. Assuming there is no structural damage, a professional plumber can fix this relatively straightforward problem. This repair should take about an hour to complete and will usually cost between $75 and $100.

The other possibility is a clogged drain. In this case, the sink will tend to fill with water and food waste. This is more of a plumbing problem than an issue with the disposal itself. There is a possibility this clog can affect other plumbing structures in your home, and getting the clogged pipe fixed as soon as possible will help prevent other problems, such as an overflowing toilet or washing machine. If you're unable to do so yourself, unclogging a pipe will usually cost between $150-200.

Preventing the need for repairs

The best way to avoid pricy repair costs for your garbage disposal is to use it according to the manufacturer's instructions. Always try to avoid pouring fat, grease, and oil into the disposal, as it can not only clog your pipes but can clog your city sewer system. There are other problematic items to keep out of your disposal; for example, fibrous foods like celery, rhubarb, and banana peels can get tangled in the disposal blades and cause them to malfunction. Starchy foods like pasta and rice expand when they get wet and can also lead to a clogged drain. Fruit pits from stone fruits like peaches or cherries are too hard for disposal blades and can damage them. 

If you'd have a hard time chewing it, your garbage disposal will have a hard time grinding it. And remember that the disposal is not for non-food garbage like cigarette butts or other litter.

Having a garbage disposal is a convenient way to dispose of food waste. Keeping the disposal clean can help prevent clogs and remove odors. Pouring some baking soda down your drain, followed by some white vinegar, helps keep the drain smelling fresh. You can also try throwing lemon or other citrus peels into the disposal occasionally to keep it smelling good.