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Genuine Question: How Long Does a Garbage Disposal Last?

How long until it wastes away?

Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on July 9, 2023

Modern Kitchen Sink With Garbage Disposal

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“How long does a garbage disposal last?

Is it worth the investment?”

Some kitchen items are genuinely innovative and practical.

They perform the same function every day, but their impact on your daily life and the environment is tremendous.

One leading example of this is a garbage disposer.

These nearly century-old appliances serve thousands of homes with dedication and commitment by grinding big food chunks into tiny particles; they go down the drain hassle-free without burdening the already overloaded landfills.

Still, you hesitate when it comes to adding one to your kitchen or replacing the old unit.

The reason can be the doubt about its longevity.

People refrain from investing in items that require frequent new purchases or repairs.

If you believe this unit can dent your household budget, it’s time for a reality check.

Like anything else, the machine needs cleaning, care, and maintenance.

Plus, the quality matters.

You get the best garbage disposal options on the market.

When you choose a reliable brand, it can handle your kitchen’s food waste for about 8-15 years.

That means it will be your one-time cost for a long.

Repairs and replacement concerns will occur when you expose your unit to starchy, stiff, oily, fatty, or fibrous food, such as potatoes, leafy veggies, etc.

Most manufacturers advise against putting such things into the grinder to avoid clogging and damage problems.

Or, it can be a lack of regular cleaning.

Since multiple factors determine this appliance’s health. here is a quick insight into the use of disposal to address your primary concern better.


How Long Does a Garbage Disposal Last?

It Depends.


The average life expectancy of garbage disposal is around 8-15 years.

As mentioned, a good device can run for about 15 years with proper maintenance.

Most of them conk off before time for two main reasons – lack of care or poor quality machine components (motor, blades, and gears) that can survive only for eight years.

Negligence toward the device can prove much more lethal if you don’t clean it or add items like oil, coffee grounds, eggshells, etc.

The motor and blades can wear down soon due to these and stop functioning.

However, your attention can make it serve your household for a decade and beyond, which can be 12 years on average.

How do you know the machine is near its end?

Noise is one of the easily detectable indicators, mainly if you use any average model.

The high-end garbage disposers can do their job quietly.

Nevertheless, you can see it as a sign of trouble if the device makes noise during operations.

Or, you can watch out for the stench from the kitchen drain or sink.

The smell will linger if the cleaning work from your end has been pending for some time now.

If it still stinks after you clean the parts, you must realize that the grinder is struggling to handle food waste.

Another telltale can be frequent clogging issues with the device.

When blades become weak and fail to churn debris into small bits, the waste gets stuck in the unit’s internal chamber and clogs.

Or the appliance size doesn’t match the volume of food waste your kitchen creates.

You may need a bigger model with higher horsepower.

For instance, a family of 3-6 people will need a motor with ¾ HP.

They cannot rely on a ½ HP motor, which is more appropriate for a household of one to two people.

You can be confident about replacing the older unit if it witnesses frequent power outages.

You can plug it on and off several times to activate the motor.

But the machine will eventually give up and stop moving.


The dos and don’ts for a long life of the garbage disposal


So, the question still hangs – how long will the unit run?

It can be hard to satisfy your curiosity if you want a definitive answer to this.

After all, any mechanical object’s life depends on how a person handles it.

If you don’t refrain from adding starchy items like onions, cooked potatoes, and others, the motor will struggle.

Potato skin, asparagus stalks, and onion peels will trap the blades, gears, and other components and cause the machine to malfunction.

Such habitual practices will lead to the accumulation of debris in the unit and force the device to shut down forever.

In this situation, the only solution can be a replacement.

Some DIY enthusiasts can put their skills to use in the installation stage.

While it’s a good idea, you must consider the risks.

Modern models are easy to install, but hiring a professional to take care of this will be better.

Otherwise, even a tiny error from your end can prove costly down the road.

Similarly, over-expectations with the machine can be dangerous.

Homeowners expect garbage disposals to grind all food waste; that’s impractical.

A few debris items, such as uncooked pasta, eggshells, and bones, can slowly harm the blade, reducing the unit’s capability.

When you pour coffee grounds, grease, or oil into the appliance, you can feel it’s okay; these are liquid or soft materials.

But these elements combine with other waste matter, creating sludge.

It can clog the device.


Mindful use of the garbage disposal


Remember, it’s an easy-to-use and impactful kitchen appliance. A little care can make it one of the most coveted additions.

Overuse or underuse can affect its performance.

The metal chamber and blades can develop rust if used rarely because of the moist environment inside.

Likewise, abuse can make the components weak.

You get plenty of models on the market.

Explore all of them with a focus on top-notch brands.

The materials should be high quality to make your daily use convenient and tension-free.

Next, the installation process has to be perfect.

You get products with proper instructions, even for DIYers.

As hinted, getting a professional to do this job is the best decision.

You can save a few dollars immediately by doing everything yourself, but it can become an expensive mistake if something goes wrong.

Since technicians possess enough knowledge and expertise, the risk of going wrong is low or avoidable.

Hence, it makes sense to add some money from your pocket rather than install it yourself and bear the brunt.

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