A broken garbage disposal can cause your sink to clog up and not dispose of food properly. This leaves food waste sitting in the disposal to rot, creating nasty odors that can emanate throughout your home. To avoid nasty odors from a broken disposal, here are three quick ways to see whether your garbage disposal might be broken.

3 Signs of a Broken Garbage Disposal

Any of these signs suggest a broken disposal:

1. Leak below the sink – While garbage disposals are not supposed to leak, sometimes they can. Signs of a leak are dripping water or buildup of water in the under sink area. Water may also leak from the drain pipe leading away from the disposal. Anytime you see a leak, call a plumber.

2. Grinding Noises –A grinding noise when you operate the disposal usually means that the motor has an issue or that something is clogging the disposal. A piece of silverware could have slipped in the disposal, causing a noise as the disposal blades hit the metal. Look down the disposal with a flashlight to see if anything is clogging it. You may be able to remove an object to fix the problem yourself. Yet if you do not see anything unusual, have it serviced.

3. Clogs – A clogged disposal cannot get rid of food. Starchy foods like rice and pasta and oily ones like grease often cause problems. If water won’t go down your drain it suggests a clog in the disposal. You’ll need a plumber to clear the clog so you can resume using your garbage disposal.

Getting a disposal repaired or replaced is a relatively inexpensive home repair, so there is no reason to hold off on calling a plumber if you see any of these signs. A plumber can diagnose the problem, repair the disposal, or replace it with a new model.