Troubleshoot and Repair a Garbage Disposal

Having problems with your garbage disposal?  Here is how you could fix it:

  • The disposal is silent or not turning on.

Check whether the garbage disposal is plugged in. If it is, then wait until the unit has cooled down, and press the reset button to start again. If it is still not running and humming, check whether the wiring is okay. If there is a problem with the circuit, fix it. If you did and it is still not running, then it is a defective garbage disposal and you have to replace it.

  • The disposal hums but it doesn't run.

When this happens, the flywheel might be stuck, or something may be clogging the system. You can tell that something has gotten stuck in your disposal when water pools in your sink. Turn off your disposal before doing anything. Next, use a wrench and insert it into the flywheel hole to dislodge whatever it is that got stuck. You can use tongs to pry something out, but make sure you don't use your hand. Push the impellers in different directions until they turn easily. Reset the disposal. Turn the disposal on and off in rapid succession to shake the item out. Run water to wash away the stuck item. If the disposal is clean and nothing is stuck, the disposal may have broken blades. When this is so, get a replacement.

  • The disposal is leaking or grinds poorly.

If the leaks originate from the pipes, replace the hose or tighten the clamp between the hose and the inlet. Check the bolts holding pipes; if they are loose and cannot be tightened, replace them. If the leaks are from the bottom of the disposal, turn off the power to your disposal. Remove the unit and tighten the bolts that mount it to the flange. If the bolts are okay and the disposal is still leaking, elevate the sink flange above the sink surface and add plumber's putty between the sink and the sink flange. Reinstall the unit, and check for leaks once more. 

  • The disposal drains slowly.

Food may be stuck in it. Remove the bolts holding the discharge pipe and clear out obstructions using tongs. If there are no stuck items to be found, the pipe in the wall may be clogged, and you could clean it with a sink auger.

Tips to prevent problems with your garbage disposal:

  • Prevention is better than cure.
  • When using the garbage disposal, use only cold water because hot water can melt fatty substances, and these will clog it when they congeal.
  • Don't put overly fibrous or tough materials in it like potato peelings, coffee grounds, bones, shells, glass, rubber or metal. If some of these are stuck, use tongs to pick them out, but avoid using your own hand to prevent accidents. 
  • Before grinding anything, read the manual to find out what materials are safe for grinding.
  • To clean, put ice cubes in your garbage disposal along with rock salt, then let it run for a few seconds.
  • If you want to deodorize it, grind a few pieces of lemon peel. Never use corrosive chemicals when cleaning it because it may damage your unit.

You have just learned how to fix your garbage disposal problems. Take care of your garbage disposal and it will take care of your garbage for you.


Share this article!

Follow us!

Find more helpful articles: