If your Phoenix, AZ home has a garbage disposal, you probably love how convenient it makes it to dispose of food waste. However, you might not know very much about the device itself. That’s common because most people’s first exposure to garbage disposals comes when they move into a home that already has one. As a result, you may find yourself wondering how long you can expect your garbage disposal to last. Well, wonder no more because we have the answers you seek.

Average Garbage Disposal Life Span

Of course, there’s no way to know exactly how long your garbage disposal will last. There are too many factors that can affect longevity, including who made yours and how you use it. However, what we can tell you is that the average garbage disposal lasts between 10 and 12 years. The good news about that is the fact that garbage disposals don’t typically need much in the way of regular maintenance. This means you can expect that average life span without needing to do much to make it happen.

Factors Affecting Garbage Disposal Life Span

Various factors will affect your garbage disposal’s longevity. Some of them are things you can control, and others are not. Here are the important ones.

Product Quality

As with most appliances, you often get what you pay for in terms of longevity. If your home has a garbage disposal from a reputable brand, odds are good that it will last as long as you expect it to. Some of the most well-known brands of garbage disposals include InSinkErator, GE, Moen, and KitchenAid.

Usage Frequency

How often you use your home’s garbage disposal also plays a key role in its longevity. On average, most people use their garbage disposal around three times per week. If you use yours more than that, it could shorten your disposal’s life span. If you use it less, it may last longer.

What You Put Into It

A garbage disposal isn’t the right way to dispose of every kind of kitchen waste. If you use your disposal to get rid of things like fruit and cooked meat, it should have a long life. If you use it for anything else, it could suffer unnecessary wear and tear and break down much earlier. Here are some items to avoid. Don’t put potato or onion peals into it. The same goes for fibrous vegetables like rhubarb and asparagus. Grease and fats plus starchy foods like rice and pasta are all bad for the equipment. Don’t put coffee grounds in there, and never throw in bones or shells.

Maintenance Matters

Although garbage disposals don’t need much specific maintenance, there are some things you can do to extend your disposal’s life span. For example, it’s important to run your garbage disposal at least once per week, even if you run it while empty. When you do this, make certain to run cold water in your sink.

You should also clean your garbage disposal every two weeks. To do it, simply fill your garbage disposal with ice. Then operate it with cold water running for about a minute. That will dislodge any leftover food bits from the inside of the disposal. You can follow that up by pouring a half-cup of baking soda and a cup of white vinegar into your disposal. That will kill any bacteria inside and should eliminate any odors that remain. Alternatively, you can cut-up slices of your favorite citrus fruit to use for the same purpose.

Proper Usage Tips

There are also some usage tips you can follow if you’d like to extend the useful life of your home’s garbage disposal. Here’s what they are.

Always Use Cold Water

Although you may think it’s more sanitary to run your garbage disposal with hot water, it’s actually a better idea to use it with cold water. Residential hot water doesn’t get hot enough to sanitize surfaces. Cold water, however, will keep food waste from getting mushy, which can allow it to get stuck in your disposal. It also keeps any fats in your disposal from melting, ensuring that they’ll make it down your drain.

Don’t Grind Large Food Waste

Although it’s tempting to put food waste that’s a little too big for your disposal in and let the motor cut it down to size, you should resist doing so. You should only put small bits of food waste into your disposal and cut up anything that’s too large before putting it in. This will avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your garbage disposal.

Always Opt for Professional Repairs

Another way you can extend the useful life of your home’s garbage disposal is to always leave necessary repairs up to the pros. Even though a garbage disposal seems like a simple enough device, you should never try to repair one yourself. It’s an appliance, and you should treat it as such. Our expert plumbers have the skills and experience to handle repairs on all kinds of garbage disposals. And you can count on the fact that when they fix things, the repair will last.

When to Upgrade Your Garbage Disposal

Obviously, you’ll have little choice but to upgrade your garbage disposal if your existing one stops working. However, there are plenty of reasons why you might do it even if your garbage disposal still functions. For example, if your disposal is reaching the upper limits of its expected life span, you might want to start shopping for a new one. That way, you’ll have time to make a smart purchase without the added pressure of being in a hurry because your existing disposal isn’t working

You may also want to upgrade your garbage disposal if it’s starting to show its age, for example, if your disposal clogs all the time or you have to press its reset button frequently to keep it working. Perhaps it’s starting to make odd noises or it’s taking forever to grind up food waste. In all of those cases, your disposal is trying to tell you that it’s on its last legs. At that point, a replacement could prevent a plumbing emergency like a catastrophic leak or a burnt-out motor.

Your Local Garbage Disposal Experts

If you’re in the market for a new garbage disposal for your Phoenix home or you need someone to repair the one you have, our team at Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical can help. We’ve served the Phoenix area for over 7 years, offering the finest plumbing services, drain services, and smoke testing to residents here. We also offer quality appliance repair and handle everything from refrigerators and ovens to washing machines, stove hoods, and more! We even offer financing on approved credit for installations to give you the financial flexibility you need to afford the purchases you want to make.

If you need a new garbage disposal or garbage disposal repair in Phoenix, call us at Wyman Plumbing & Mechanical today.

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