How to Fix a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal is actually one of the best appliances in your home because it is virtually maintenance free and with very little care they will last a very long time. There are some problems that can arise once in a while and here a few tips for fixing them.

The first problem that can come up is that the reset button might get tripped in turn making the whole unit lose power. Now before I go any further always be safe and use common sense when working on your disposal. Turn the power off at the breaker before working and never, never put your hand inside unless you are absolutely sure the power is off. Now, if the unit doesn’t work all of a sudden and doesn’t make any sound at all, most likely your reset button has been triggered. There is a little button on the bottom of the unit usually inset a little. Just push this button until it makes a clicking noise and you should be good to go. Turn the power back on and try the switch, hopefully it is good as new. Things that can cause this to happen is that you may have put too much stuff down at once making it work too hard or maybe you dropped something in it that stopped it right away. It doesn’t take much to trip the reset button and this is a safety feature to keep the motor from burning up.

If pushing the reset button didn’t do the trick you probably have a jam and this can get a little trickier. Sometimes things can get under the blades and this can cause a jam which makes the disposal not work. In this case when you turn it on the unit will hum but not work, if you let it hum too long the reset button will be triggered and you already know how to fix that. Apparently there is a tool that comes with some garbage disposals for this exact reason, I have never seen one. Basically all it is, is an allen wrench, mine was a 1/4 ” and I’m told most are. Next to the reset button there is a hole in the bottom of the unit, again turn off all power before doing this. Put your allen wrench inside the hole and turn it counter-clockwise a couple of revolutions. You should be able to turn the blades and hopefully free up the jam. After you free the jam go back to the top side and run water while quickly turning the power on then off, this should shoot out whatever is in there. You should be good to go, if it doesn’t work the first time try again, a lot of times this doesn’t work on the first go-around.

If this doesn’t work, you may be out of luck. Replacing the unit might be the best option. You can get a new one for reasonable prices and putting them in is fairly easy. They come in fully assembled and simply putting it in is all you have to do. Some plumbing knowledge may be required but as long as you get the manual out you should be good. In the past I have gone through all these steps without success, and the hardest part about that does not know what in the world is causing the problem. It’s not like you have a lot of space to work with looking down that little hole, it’s a little tricky to investigate.

Calling a plumber is really not a good option in this case unless you know with all certainty you can not put a new unit in. The reason for this is that by the time you pay a plumber to come out, and pay him/her to fix it, you have just paid for a new disposal. Remember, you can always go buy one, get the thing home and if it looks like Greek, you can always return it and then call a plumber. I hope my reasoning is logical in this matter. Anyway, hope this helps……

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