Garbage Disposal Mystery

A few weeks ago the garbage disposal wall switch went out. It went slowly--you could flick it a couple of times and it would work, then finally stopped working completely. We replaced the switch and it worked fine--for a couple of weeks. Then it did the exact same thing the other switch did. No breakers tripped or anything else we noticed. We've replaced the switch again and it is working. Could it possibly have been two bad switches in a row? Or is something causing the switches to fail? I'm getting paranoid about a fire starting if there is something wrong with the electric wiring.
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RBM is right. When you get another switch get the heaviest duty switch you can find (20 Amp, Specification Grade) You will pay more for it, but it will last longer. "Only a RICH Homeowner Can Afford a POOR Switch (or anything else).
Stretch
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My best guess is that the switches you are using are not rated for motors. When the motor starts,it uses around four times the amount of current it takes to run it. Standard lighting switches are not designed to handle this surge and could prematurely fail

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Dave.. Those motors do not have brushes. W W
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David Martel wrote:

Brushes? You must be thinking of a auto starter motor or similar where sometimes you can get a "dead" one working "one more time" by whacking it hard so a slightly sticky brush jars in enough to touch the commutator.
Show me a home disposal with motor brushes in it and I'll buy you a beer. The starter switch sticking or having bad contacts maybe, but not brushes, 'cause there aren't any.
I'll go along with testing the switch, there just might be something else opening and closing the circuit like a loose wirenutted splice.
You are correct, someone with a VOM and an understanding of basic circuit theory could open stuff up carefully and determine for sure whether it's really the switch.
Funny about switches though. When we built our home 20 years ago I remember putting in my lists of "must do" things in the purchase agreement that the disposal should be controlled by a heavy duty switch. Of course, the installing electrician used the same cheap type as he did for all the lighting circuits. I made them fix that. We're on our third disposal now, but that switch is still original. <G>
Speaking of wirenutted splices. I had two new Trane heat pump compressors/evaporator units installed at our home last week replacing the 20 year old Tranes which lived longer than I ever believed they could. One unit stopped working the day after they got through installing it. The cause? A lousy wirenutted splice on one of the 230 volt leads.
I found that one myself, right inside the fused disconnect for that unit, but I also found that the "Trane Certified Comfort Specialist" had to extend the control leads. (Because the old units had their control terminals near their tops and the new ones have them much lower down.)
He used the fused disconnect for that unit as a splice box for wirenutting the extension to those control leads rather than adding a small weatherproof box to put those splices in. Just punched out a knockout at the back of the box to run the leads in and out, no grommet, no weather sealing. At least the angle of the siding kept them from being pinched behind the box. <G>
http://home.comcast.net/~jwisnia18/temp/box1.jpg
Low and high voltage circuits in the same box? Code? What code? It works doesn't it?
He is coming back tomorrow to make the job right before I'll pay for it.
Jeff
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Jeffry Wisnia

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Suzanne wrote:

I think RBM hit it. Don't use those 75 switches, go for the $2.50 ones. Look for commercial not builder quality and look for higher amperage ratings.
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Joseph Meehan

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Suzanne,
Have you tested the switch? It's possible that the motor brushes in your disposal are worn out. If you know how to use a volt meter and own one then test the switch.
Dave M.
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You used the push in terminals on the switch. They are OK for low current aplications, but I would use the side screws to attach the wires the next time.
Stretch
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have to question your explanation.
I agree with your assessment of cheap switches, but if two go in a short period, it is likely something other than bad switches.
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--------------070605060700020003020405 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii; format=flowed Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
RBM wrote:

</pre> <blockquote type="cite"> <pre wrap="">A few weeks ago the garbage disposal wall switch went out. It went slowly--you could flick it a couple of times and it would work, then finally stopped working completely. We replaced the switch and it worked fine--for a couple of weeks. Then it did the exact same thing the other switch did. No breakers tripped or anything else we noticed. We've replaced the switch again and it is working. Could it possibly have been two bad switches in a row? Or is something causing the switches to fail? I'm getting paranoid about a fire starting if there is something wrong with the electric wiring. </pre> </blockquote> <pre wrap=""><!---->
</pre> </blockquote> The switch I used to replace the first one that went was your standard Lowe's switch--I think it was about $4-5. &nbsp;But the switch before it had been in place for at least 4 years. &nbsp;We bought the house in 2001 and this is the first time we've had switch problems. &nbsp;Maybe I replaced a heavy duty switch that went after 10 years of use, with a regular one? &nbsp;I never thought to look at the first one that went. &nbsp;<br> <br> There was one odd thing, though. &nbsp;The wires that go into the switch would almost not fit in the holes. &nbsp;We had to really force them in.<br> <br> </body> </html>
--------------070605060700020003020405--
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Geez I hope you're kidding.
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toller wrote:

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Suzanne wrote:

It's not the wires that are the problem here. Those push in connectors are known for a lot of problems. I suggest you not use them at all, and certainly not for any high amp loads. Use the screw down connectors as they are much more secure. You will not even find those push in connections on commercial grade or better grade devices.
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Joseph Meehan

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