Why Is My Garbage Disposer So Noisy?

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Do you find the noise of your garbage disposer running is drowning out the after-dinner conversation? Have you been startling your holiday party guests by turning the disposal on when rinsing off a few plates? While most garbage disposals are not known for their quiet operation, the decibel level shouldn’t be approaching that of a jackhammer when you run the unit. Repair Clinic has some answers for why your garbage disposer has become so noisy or loud…

The difference between “continuous-feed” and “batch-feed” disposers

Let’s start by taking a look at the two different types of garbage disposers that are on the market.

“Continuous-feed” garbage disposals

The more commonly installed units are known as “continuous-feed” garbage disposals. These units are usually hard-wired to a wall switch near the sink, and you can continuously insert food waste while the disposer is running. How does it work? Flipping the wall switch to the “on” position allows 120 volts of alternating current to be sent to the garbage disposal’s motor. The motor will then rotate a shredder (or grinding) plate to break down the food waste which can then be more easily washed down the drainpipe to the outside of the home. These units work best when a steady stream of cold water is running down the drain while the disposer is operating. “Continuous-feed” garbage disposals will use a splash guard attached to the top of the unit or positioned in the sink drain opening to prevent the water from being slung upwards.

“Batch-feed” garbage disposals

The other type of garbage disposer you’ll find in homes is known as “batch-feed”. “Batch-feed” garbage disposals require the food waste to be inserted before turning the unit on. The disposer gets its name because the waste is being inserted in batches (depending on the model, the size of the “batch” can range from three to five cups of food particles). Once the food waste is inserted, a cover or stopper is positioned in the drain opening and is pushed down and/or rotated. This action actuates a start switch on the top of the unit which allows the 120 volts of alternating current to flow to the disposer’s motor. As with the “continuous-feed” disposal, the motor then rotates the shredder plate to break down the food particles.

Which kind of garbage disposal are you using?

So, which kind of garbage disposal are you using? While not as popular as “continuous-feed” disposals, “batch-feed” disposals are known to offer quieter operation than standard “continuous-feed” models. If you’ve been thinking of purchasing a new garbage disposal, you may want to consider a “batch-feed”- style disposer to reduce the level of noise when in use.

Garbage disposal obstruction & worn motor can cause noise

If your garbage disposal has become unexpectedly loud or noisy, there are three likely causes: an obstructed shredder plate, a loose shredder plate or blades, or a worn-out motor.

Obstructed shredder plate

Certain fibrous food items, such as potato peels and corn husks, have a tendency to create an obstruction, causing the shredder plate to jam which can result in the disposer becoming very noisy when operating. For this reason, Repair Clinic recommends depositing fibrous food waste directly into the trash bin.

There are steps you can take to fix a jammed shredder plate. For many models, you can insert a quarter inch-size Allen wrench into the opening on the bottom of the disposal housing and rotate the wrench back-and-forth. This will manually rotate the shredder plate, helping to break up the food material that is jamming it. If your model doesn’t have an opening on the bottom of the housing, a wooden broom handle can be inserted through the sink drain opening to turn the plate in order to clear the obstruction.

Loose shredder plate or shredder blades

It’s also possible that the shredder plate has become loose or the blades attached to the plate have loosened. This can significantly increase the level of noise you’ll hear when running the disposer. Unfortunately, you can’t really retighten the plate or its blades. Replacement shredder plates are available, but these can be a real challenge for even professional technicians to install, so Repair Clinic recommends you invest in a new disposer.

Worn-out motor bearings

Is the garbage disposal still loud or noisy even though you’ve confirmed the shredder plate is unobstructed and in good condition? That indicates a problem with the disposer’s motor. Over time, the motor bearings can wear out, especially if the motor is continuously strained by a jammed shredder plate. Since the bearings cannot be repaired, you will need to replace the disposal if the unit’s motor has worn out.

Repair Clinic has the resources to fix your broken garbage disposer

A garbage disposer being noisy is not the only issue you may be experiencing with your unit. Other common problems include the disposal leaking water, the disposer not grinding, the unit tripping its breaker, or the disposal not working at all.

As your repair partner, Repair Clinic has the resources to fix your broken garbage disposer. Visit our website’s “Videos & Articles” section to see step-by-step procedural videos covering garbage disposer repair, such as how to replace a broken disposal start switch on the model KCDB250G4 KitchenAid Garbage Disposal or the right way to install a new disposer splash guard.

But that’s not all. Repair Clinic has thousands of “how to” and diagnostic videos, step-by-step guides, and schematics for all home appliances, outdoor power equipment, and heating and cooling units, as well as more than four million parts that fit those products.

Use genuine manufacturer’s parts to repair your disposal

Speaking of parts, you’re going to want to use only genuine manufacturer’s parts to repair your disposal, or any other appliance or equipment, to ensure the product will function optimally. That’s why Repair Clinic stocks genuine OEM replacement parts for garbage disposals built by such top brands as Kenmore, Emerson, Frigidaire, GE, Whirlpool, Insinkerator, Sinkmaster, Waste King, and Whirlaway. How can you find the exact part for your particular disposal? Enter the full model number of the garbage disposer in Repair Clinic’s “Search Parts Online & Get Answers” search bar to see a complete list of compatible parts. From there, you can use the “Part Category” filter (examples: “Switch”, “Cap, Lid & Cover”) followed by the “Part Title” filter (examples: “Start Switch”, “Stopper”) to identify the specific part that matches your disposal.

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