Top 5 Reasons Why a Garbage Disposal Stops Working

Is your garbage disposal on the fritz? In my experience, that means that one of five things has gone wrong. Here’s a quick rundown on each one:

Blown Fuse

Garbage disposals run on electricity. As such, if your garbage disposal goes on the fritz, one of the first things that you should do is head towards your home’s electrical panel. Once you get to your home’s electrical panel, check to make sure that you didn’t accidently trip a breaker or blow a fuse.

Overheated Motor

The second thing that you should check when your garbage disposal stops working is the motor. Before attempting to examine your garbage disposal’s motor, shut off the electricity running to the unit. Continue by reaching your hand down into the garbage disposal. If it feels warm to the touch, there is a good chance that the motor overheated and shut itself off. In that event, allow the garbage disposal’s motor to cool off. Once it has cooled off, you can go ahead and reset it. In most instances, the reset button is located on the bottom of the garbage disposal. All you need to do is turn the power to the garbage disposal back on and press the red reset button until it makes a noise. That’s all there is to it.

Jammed Flywheel

The third thing that you should check when your garbage disposal stops working is the garbage disposal’s flywheel. A jammed flywheel is most often caused by overloading the garbage disposal or attempting to dispose of inappropriate items like bottle caps and little plastic army men. It may be corrected by shutting the power off to the garbage disposal and removing the clog. If removing the clog by hand doesn’t work, there may be items stuck deep in between the garbage disposal’s impeller blades. One way to remove deeply lodged materials is to try and move the flywheel with the aid of a force cup plunger’s wooden handle. Simply stick the handle in between the impeller blades. Then apply clockwise pressure until the impeller blades start to move. Afterward, use the handle to apply counterclockwise pressure until the impeller blades move unhindered in that direction as well.

Dirty Impeller Blades

The fourth thing that may be causing your garbage disposal to act up is a build-up of rust or mineral deposits on the impeller blades. One way to try and correct the problem is to flush your garbage disposal with hot, white vinegar. If the white vinegar doesn’t work, you may want to try a baking soda and white vinegar mix. Sometimes that tends to deliver better results.

Jammed Grind Ring

The fifth thing that could be causing your garbage disposal to stop working is a jammed grind ring. Jammed grind rings are easy to repair. In order to free your garbage disposal’s grind ring, you will need to shut off its electrical supply and get out a small hex wrench. Examine the exterior bottom of your garbage disposal. Look for the tiny hole located in the center of the disposal’s base. Once you have located the hole, insert the hex wrench into it and give the wrench a twist. Keep moving the hex wrench back and forth until you feel the grind ring break free. Once it does, restore power to your garbage disposal and give it a try. Hopefully it will work.

Source: Personal Experience

Killeen Gonzalez has a history of completing DIY home improvement projects with her family.

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