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If you’re a homeowner, you likely know the convenience and efficiency that a garbage disposal brings to your kitchen. These handy devices can effortlessly grind up food waste, making clean-up a breeze. However, like any appliance, garbage disposals have a limited lifespan. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that affect the longevity of garbage disposals and answer the question, “How long do garbage disposals last?” as provided by Full Spectrum Plumbing in San Bernardino, CA.

Understanding Garbage Disposals

Before we delve into their lifespan, let’s first understand how garbage disposals function. A garbage disposal is installed under your kitchen sink and is connected to the drain. When you wash food scraps down the sink, the disposal’s sharp blades break them down into tiny particles, which then flow through the plumbing system, preventing clogs.

Factors Affecting Lifespan

Several factors influence the lifespan of your garbage disposal. Let’s explore each of them:

1. Build Quality and Material

The construction and materials of the garbage disposal play a significant role in determining how long it will last. Disposals made from durable materials like stainless steel tend to have a longer lifespan compared to those made from lower-quality materials.

2. Frequency of Use

The more frequently you use your garbage disposal, the more wear and tear it experiences. While these appliances are designed for regular use, excessive usage can shorten their lifespan.

3. Maintenance and Cleaning

Regular maintenance and cleaning are vital for prolonging the life of your garbage disposal. Avoiding harsh chemicals and regularly flushing it with water can prevent buildup and keep it running smoothly.

4. Type of Food Waste

The type of food waste you put into the disposal can also impact its longevity. Hard items like bones, fruit pits, and coffee grounds can be particularly damaging to the blades and motor.

5. Overloading

Overloading the disposal with too much food waste at once can strain the motor and cause premature wear.

Average Lifespan

Given the various factors, the average lifespan of a garbage disposal typically ranges from 10 to 15 years. However, with proper care and usage, some models can last even longer.

Signs Your Garbage Disposal Needs Replacement

As your garbage disposal nears the end of its life, it may exhibit certain signs indicating the need for a replacement:

1. Persistent Clogs

If you notice frequent clogs that can’t be cleared, it might be a sign that your disposal is reaching the end of its serviceable life.

2. Strange Noises

Unusual grinding or rattling noises while the disposal is running can signal internal damage.

3. Foul Odors

Persistent bad smells even after cleaning could indicate a failing disposal.

4. Frequent Resets

If your disposal keeps tripping the reset button, it’s a sign that the motor is struggling.

5. Leakage

Water or waste leaking from the disposal is a clear indication that it needs replacement.


In conclusion, garbage disposals are valuable kitchen appliances that can simplify your daily chores. While their average lifespan is around 10 to 15 years, proper usage and maintenance can extend their longevity. Pay attention to the signs of a failing disposal and consider getting a replacement when necessary to avoid inconvenience and potential plumbing issues.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. Q: Can I put all types of food waste into the garbage disposal? A: While most food scraps are acceptable, avoid putting hard items like bones and fruit pits.
  2. Q: Is it safe to clean the garbage disposal with chemicals? A: No, harsh chemicals can damage the disposal. Stick to mild cleaners and running water.
  3. Q: Can I install a garbage disposal myself? A: It’s best to leave installation to professionals to ensure proper setup and avoid leaks.
  4. Q: How often should I schedule maintenance for my garbage disposal? A: Regular maintenance is recommended every 6-12 months to keep it in optimal condition.
  5. Q: What should I do if my garbage disposal leaks? A: If you notice leakage, it’s best to contact a plumber to inspect and repair it.

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Marc Gallo

Every day, Marc pursues increasing customer happiness through providing remarkable plumbing services.

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