Garbage disposal smoking is a problem that many homeowners may face at some point. Garbage disposals are designed to grind food waste into small pieces, which can then be safely disposed of in the sewer system. However, when garbage disposal units malfunction, they often produce smoke or an unpleasant smell due to an accumulation of grease and other debris within the unit.
If not addressed quickly, this issue can become increasingly problematic as it could lead to further damage to your plumbing system and even costly repairs.
In this article, we will discuss what causes garbage disposal smoking, how you can prevent it from occurring and steps you should take if you encounter garbage disposal smoking in your home.
Why Is My Garbage Disposal Smoking?
Garbage disposal smoking is caused by an accumulation of grease, debris or other substances that have clogged the garbage disposal unit. When these substances heat up, they can produce smoke or an unpleasant smell. This is why garbage disposal smoking often occurs when the garbage disposal unit has not been used for a while.
Here are some causes for smoking garbage disposal:
Grease and Oil Accumulation
Garbage disposal smoking often occurs when grease and oils begin to accumulate inside the garbage disposal unit. As the garbage disposal grinds food waste, it can splash grease, fats and oils onto the garbage disposal blades, which then harden over time. The hardened grease can start to produce smoke or an unpleasant odor as it heats up.
To fix it, you should clean your garbage disposal regularly to prevent grease and oil from accumulating. The easiest way to do this is to use ice cubes and vinegar or baking soda.
Ice cubes help to dislodge any hardened grease and vinegar or baking soda is great for natural cleaning and deodorizing the garbage disposal unit.
An Accumulation of Food Particles
Another common cause of garbage disposal smoking is an accumulation of food particles. When garbage disposals are used for a long time without proper maintenance, the garbage disposal blades can become clogged with food particles, which then start to smoke when heated up.
To fix this issue, you should run cold water and use a garbage disposal cleaner to help break down the food particles. You can also try using a plunger to dislodge any hardened food particles.
Buildup of Sediment or Mineral Deposits
Garbage disposal smoking can also be caused by a buildup of sediment or mineral deposits. These sediments and deposits accumulate over time as water passes through the garbage disposal unit. As they heat up, they can begin to smoke or produce an unpleasant smell.
The best way to prevent garbage disposal smoking due to sediment or mineral deposits is to have your garbage disposal professionally cleaned every few months. This will help ensure that all sediments and deposits are removed, preventing garbage disposal smoking in the future.
Other potential reasons for garbage disposal smoking include a blocked drain. If your garbage disposal is connected to a drain, then the clog can cause smoke or an unpleasant odor, especially gas.
For drain blockage, you should use a drain snake to unclog the drain. However, if you don’t have access to a drain snake, you can also use a plunger to dislodge the clog.
To prevent garbage disposal smoking due to drain blockage, you should also make sure to clean your drains regularly and avoid putting any large amounts of food waste down the garbage disposal.
In some cases, garbage disposal smoking can be caused by malfunctioning parts such as the garbage disposal motor or garbage disposal blades.
If this is the case, it’s best to call a professional plumber who can diagnose and fix the problem.
Signs of Garbage Disposal Smoking
If your garbage disposal is smoking, you may notice the following signs:
1. An unpleasant smell coming from the garbage disposal unit.
2. Smoke or steam rising from the garbage disposal unit.
3. A burning smell emanating from the garbage disposal unit.
4. Garbage disposal blades making a grinding or humming noise.
5. Water not draining from the garbage disposal unit quickly enough.
If you encounter any of these signs, it is best to unplug the garbage disposal and take steps to troubleshoot the issue.
How to Troubleshoot Garbage Disposal Smoking Issues?
Step 1. Unplug the garbage disposal unit and clean it with a brush or scrubbing pad. If you encounter any hard clumps of grease, use a butter knife to scrape it away.
Step 2. Use a plumber’s snake or auger to unclog the garbage disposal unit if there is a blockage. You can also pour some biodegradable garbage disposal cleaner down the drain to help break down residue and food particles.
Step 3. Check the garbage disposal blades for any damage or corrosion. If you notice any issues, it is best to have the garbage disposal blade replaced to prevent further damage.
Step 4. If none of the above steps resolve the garbage disposal smoking issue, you may need to replace the garbage disposal motor or switch out the garbage disposal unit entirely.
Safety Tips for Dealing with Garbage Disposal Smoking
When dealing with garbage disposal smoking, it is important to take the necessary safety precautions.
1. Always be sure to unplug the garbage disposal unit before attempting to clean or troubleshoot it.
2. Never stick your hands into the garbage disposal unit as this can be dangerous and result in serious injury.
3. Wear protective gloves when cleaning the garbage disposal and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive brushes that could damage the garbage disposal blades.
4. If you notice any smoke coming from the garbage disposal unit, immediately turn off the power switch and leave the area to allow it to cool down.
5. Do not try to pour water to cool down the garbage disposal as this could cause dangerous steam.
Preventative Measures to Avoid Garbage Disposal Smoking
The best way to prevent garbage disposal smoking is to regularly clean and maintain garbage disposal units. Taking the necessary steps to regularly clean and maintain garbage disposals can help to prevent garbage disposal smoking and ensure garbage disposals last longer.
Regularly maintain your garbage disposal based on the professional’s recommendations:
1. Always avoid putting large amounts of food waste down the garbage disposal. Regularly clean garbage disposal units with a garbage disposal cleaner to remove any food particles and buildup.
2. Regularly run cold water when using garbage disposals to help flush away food particles.
3. Avoid putting any hard objects such as bones or shells, and grease, oils and fibrous vegetables down the garbage disposal as these can cause clogs.
4. Have garbage disposal units serviced regularly to ensure they are working correctly.
5. Use garbage disposals sparingly as overuse can damage garbage disposal blades and motors.
Following these measures will help to keep garbage disposal units running smoothly and prevent garbage disposal smoking. If you notice any problems, take steps to troubleshoot garbage disposal smoking immediately to avoid further damage.