Garbage disposals usually depend on two blades to work as fluidly as possible. You will usually spot the blades if you look inside the disposer because they are attached to the impeller plate. The flying wheel is another piece of the mechanism, which helps the impeller plate to rotate.
The thing is that from time to time you might notice those blades loosen up. Although wear and tear is usually the reason behind this issue, there are some other factors that might make the blades loosen up. This is why, like some other parts of the garbage disposal, the blades also need proper maintenance.
This is what you will have to do when you notice the garbage disposal being lose.
Steps to Fix the Loose Blades
Step 1 – unplug the device
Unplugging the garbage disposal from the power source is actually the first step in fixing it, regardless of what is broken inside it. Tip: Usually, the power plug should be below the sink, and often, it will be next to the disposal unit, on the wall.
Before you handle de disposer you should make sure that no power is going through it. You can even break the power right from the main circuit.
In this way, you can make sure that there is no power passing through the disposer. And you should always be sure you’ve taken this step, especially considering that you’ll have your hands elbow deep inside the disposer. You wouldn’t want to grind your hands while you try to fix it.
Step 2 – check it for any objects stuck inside
Sometimes you will notice that you’re dealing with a simple obstruction. The blades will have a hard time grinding if the obstruction is in the form of a fork or a clog.
If you dip your hands inside the disposer and try to move the blades, you will easily find the obstruction most of the time. A couple of blades that run smoothly side by side will mean that they aren’t loose and that there is no obstruction in the machine.
If you notice an up and down movement instead, it means that the blades are loose. If that’s the case, then you should check under the blades for an obstruction.
You can use the flashlight for an easier way of checking the inside of the disposer. Most of the time you will be able to see the clog in this way, but if the issue is food waste, it might get stuck under the blades and you won’t be able to see it by just flashing a flashlight inside.
Now that you have your hands inside the disposer, you can use them to remove the clog. If you don’t want to use your hands, the nose pliers will be just as good. Depending on your specific situation, it might prove to be hard to remove the clog from time to time. You can push the trash a few times with the nose pliers to nudge it out.
You should then let water go through the disposer to clean any food waste that is still inside.
Step 3 – fix the blades
First, you should unscrew the screw that keeps the disposal unit mounted on the sink. The pipe wrench is a great tool to help you do this. Continue by unscrewing the nuts. As soon as you go ahead and unscrew the nuts, they will come out. If you want to see the blades correctly, then you can go as far as parting the disposal unit.
To release the bottom parts and the top parts, you then have to loosen the center and side blades. The way in which the disposer is taken apart will, of course, depend on its type. Some have this exact setup, while others might have just part of it or a different one altogether.
All you have to do next is to tighten the two bolts that have the job of holding the blade in place. You should tighten the two bolts that are in charge of holding the blades as soon as you are sure that nothing is under the blades to clog the system. These screws will tighten them and keep them fixed.
Step 4 – clean the disposer
As a final step, you will have to clean the sink flange as well as possible to make sure you remove any dirt or grime from its surface. To do this you can use a simple piece of cloth.
You can then put the disposer back in its place and reattach it. You could clean it again at this point before you put it to power again. Plug it in and start it to make sure it works properly. It can be restarted by pressing its reset button. These steps should be enough to clear any clogs and make the disposer work again.
How Would You Know If the Blades Are Loose
You should usually figure out pretty easily if the blades are loose.
The obvious sign is the sound it will make, which is pretty different than what you would consider usual with a disposal unit. It should sound like metals shrieking.
Having loose bearing, loose rivets, loose blades, or a clog will make it grind like the metal.
Another obvious sign will be its inability to grind when it has loose blades.
How to Replace the Blades
Step one – your safety
You should start this project by unplugging your disposal machine from under the sink. After you switch it off, make sure it doesn’t work by turning it around. If it doesn’t turn, you’ll have your confirmation.
To catch any dripping water, it would be a good idea to have a bucket close to you when working on the disposer. The job would prove to be a lot harder if you also have to wipe the water that keeps on dripping.
Step 2- unscrew the deposer
Most repairs that involve a disposer will have you detach one or more parts that are connected to it. In this case, you will first have to unscrew the waste line and the dishwasher line. You can remove the whole disposer from under the sink to make it easier for you to work on it.
Make sure you don’t let it hit your legs while you take detach it from the sink.
Step 3 replace the blades
The next important step is to replace the blades. To do this, just unbolt the blades from the system. As soon as you remove the bolts you will be able to replace the blades. To replace the old blades, the new ones should be stainless steel. Don’t just go for the cheap models because those will break easily.
But this shouldn’t be the norm, and if you have to replace the blades now and then, you should consider buying a new set of blades.
You should try your best to protect all the parts of the garbage disposal, especially the blades. Use the disposer for what it was meant to grind.
Avoid grinding any fibrous food or tough food. If you take the necessary actions to protect the disposer, it should work without issues for quite a while.