How Long Do Garbage Disposals Last?

Not everything is supposed to go down a garbage disposal. Quite the contrary. Some items are the best suit for the garbage bin if you hope to get more service out of your appliance. Which brings us to the subject at hand, how long do garbage disposals last?


How Long Does a Garbage Disposal Last?

The answer depends on 3 key factors and that is, the model acquired, how often you use it and how well you maintain it.

On average, even the most basic version should last a good number of years, 8 perhaps if kept well, while more advanced models can extend up to 15 years. Proper usage is bound to get you more life out of your disposer, but improper care can potentially cut short its longevity, regardless of quality.


The Ways to Prevent Damaging Your Garbage Disposal

how long does a garbage disposal last

Let’s take a look at reckless handling that could quickly damage your disposer.

1. Do Not Flushing Down Non-Biodegradable Material

Ideally, a garbage disposer is best equipped for breaking down food waste. Even so, not all foods are friendly for the blades to crush with ease. Take for instance stone fruits. Throwing in an avocado, cherry, or peach with the seed inside contributes to wearing out much faster. Anything with bones too or long, stringy fibers like celery will have the same effect.

Besides food, metals and plastics must never be washed down the drain. Other fluids like grease are also damaging. Despite its light density, it eventually solidifies onto the pipe walls fuelling faster clogging.

Please note that very old disposers may be limited to what modern, advanced disposers can handle. So if potato peels seem problematic to drain, then its best to avoid over tasking your machine.


2. Proper Usage and Aftercare

For optimum use, the disposer ought to work while being hydrated by a steady stream of water. In its absence, the shredder plate is likely to experience some jamming or work slower than usual.

After having drained away all the waste, the aftercare protocol necessitates the use of the disposer cleaner to rid off bad smells and most importantly, leave the machine spotless.

Negligence to this last step waters down its efficiency.


Signs That Show Your Garbage Disposal Needs Replacing

how to fix a garbage disposal

If you’re experiencing any one of these problems with your disposer, it might be time to think of getting a new one.

  1. Loud or unusual noises – More recent models come with less noise as compared to traditional pieces; however, they are not entirely quiet. In fact, if your mortar is dead silent that too might be a problem.  But the most obvious red flag would be when there is too much clamor as it runs.
  2.  If it won’t run at all
  3. If you constantly need to press the RESET button – Normally, the mortar is the spinning force behind the shredder plate. When the disposer is faulty, it causes the mortar to overheat during this process and in turn trip the RESET button. Times when the damage is not as severe, a simple press is usually enough to get your disposer going again. However, if you often need to do this, it’s an indicator you have a few days left with the tool.
  4. Sluggish functionality.
  5. Bad odors that won’t go away.
  6. Frequent clogging.
  7. Disposer developing a leak.

Sometimes a jam or leak can be fixed depending on the damage extent. For instance, a leak spotted originating from around the splash guard area can be corrected by purchasing spare parts. However, any other source from within the housing will probably require a replacement.

Also, try unclogging the shredder wheels with a wrench or broom handle before anything. If that doesn’t work, seek advice from a professional plumber as to what should be done, which in most cases is a recommendation for a new one.


How to Make Your Garbage Disposer Last Longer?

how to clean a garbage disposal

Typically, nothing ever lasts forever, much fewer electronics. So it would be wrong to assume you will make a one-time purchase and never have to worry about repairs or total disposals. Nevertheless, a wise procure can give you well over enough time before worrying about budgeting for a brand one.

For starters:

i. Buy from quality brands – higher pricing doesn’t necessarily mean premium quality but when it comes to reputable garbage disposal brands, it most likely is a good start.

Take time to go through the product reviews and client feedback before zeroing in on a particular model. Weigh the pros and cons and make your judgment based on what seems convenient. If you can afford home warranty insurance, it will save the cost of constant repairs and prolonged inconveniences.

 ii. Follow the user guide instructions – be keen to learn all the dos and don’ts of operating your garbage disposal beforehand.  Every product is unique and comes with a different set of guidelines laid out by the manufacturer.  Go through the basics from how to assemble, all the way to aftercare specifics. You might learn a thing or two from it.

iii. Get the right size – The secret lies herein. Garbage disposals are sized according to horsepower so the bigger the size, the greater the efficiency. Households that have more occupants require a unit that can match up to the demand. Here is a sizing guide to help you make the best choice out of viable options.

  • For a 1 or 2 people household- 1/3 or 1/2 HP motor will do.
  • 3 to 6 person household should upgrade to preferably a 3/4 HP motor.
  • 5 to 8 person household – 1 HP motor works best, the least should have a ¾ powering.
  • Above 8 persons- 1 to 2 HP motor will suffice.



A garbage disposal is meant to last approximately 10 years under the right conditions. Watch out for any unusual signs that normally indicate a drop inefficiency. When simple DIY repairs don’t seem to cut it, hire the services of a professional plumber to look into the matter.