Garbage Disposal Broken? Here’s Why

Garbage disposal repair is a fairly common kitchen plumbing issue, and it’s often one homeowner can address themselves. Keep in mind that just because garbage disposal has stopped working doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be replaced.

Often, you can identify the problem by listening to the sound, or lack of sound, your disposal is making. Just remember, whenever you’re making any kind of garbage disposal repair, resist the urge to stick your hand in the disposal.

Here’s a quick guide to troubleshooting a garbage disposal malfunction.

Symptom: You turn on the disposal, and nothing happens.

The problem is more than likely a power issue.

The first thing to check is the reset button on the bottom of the disposal, located underneath your sink where the kitchen plumbing is found. Make sure the reset button is pressed, and then try to turn on the disposal again.

Should the problem persist, check the circuit breaker to see if the breaker was tripped. Reset the breaker if needed and try the disposal again.

If there’s no change in status after these two quick garbage disposal repairs, you may want to call a plumbing service for assistance.

Symptom: Your disposal is making a humming noise.

This is usually caused by a jammed flywheel.

Begin this garbage disposal repair by turning off the power to the disposal itself. Next, you have two options for clearing the jam:

  • Use an Allen wrench (or the wrench tool that came with the disposal) to try to turn the flywheel clockwise until you dislodge the jammed item and can turn the flywheel easily.
  • Insert a wooden broom handle or long metal tongs into the disposal itself to try to move the flywheel and un-stick what’s stuck in the wheel. After the flywheel moves freely, plug the unit back in and test it out.

Symptom: Your disposal makes a loud clattering or grinding noise.

This commonly means that there is something hard or solid in the disposal that the blades can’t handle.

Again, begin this repair by turning off the power to the disposal. Next, shine a flashlight into the drain to see if you can locate the hard item, and then remove the item with a pair of needle-nosed pliers. Turn the power back on and test the garbage disposal. If the noise persists, repeat the steps above until you’ve cleared the disposal. Call 3 Mountains Plumbing today!

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