Everyone will agree that dealing with broken garbage disposal is the absolute worst. Especially when the problems that you are going to face are about it being jammed, clogged, or leaking. Even though you know a little bit about maintenance and repairs, still there will just be those times when you cannot fix it. Well, you might just have to blame the hundreds of vegetable peelings that went through there.
Check our article about best garbage disposals.
But either way, fixing garbage disposal is part of everyday life. Sometimes, what you know doesn’t work, so it is best to refer to a step-by-step guide. You might be even surprised that some of those steps will save a lot of money. But of course, you also have to know how to do it properly.
Good thing, some garbage disposals can be easily fixed.
In fact, there are a lot where you can just click the reset button. We can just imagine you running to your garbage disposal and finding that reset button. But kidding aside, if that does not work, you really have to manually get in there to find what the problem is.
Here is another fact, you can also fix up your garbage disposal with just a disposal wrench. How awesome is that? Knowing that there are simple fixes on how to repair garbage disposal can really be a relief.
So let us lessen your worries by providing you with solid solutions and hopefully, next time, when your garbage disposal breaks, you know exactly what you have to do.
We have seen this in a lot of movies where the actors and actresses cut off their hand when they accidentally out their hands inside the garbage disposal. While there is still some truth in that, the grinders inside the garbage disposal are actually dull. They are very different from those sabers that are razor sharp.
But of course, you should not just reach in there and you definitely should always think about safety first if you want to repair your garbage disposal correctly. The rule of thumb is for you to never put your hand inside the garbage disposal. We cannot stress enough how important this is. Even though this is such a basic rule, you might be surprised by the number of people who get injured by simply putting there hand inside the garbage disposal.
Another tip is to always turn off your garbage disposal and better yet unplug it. You cannot risk the garbage disposal running while you are working on it. More than that, you should use the right tools and if possible wear protective gear for your hands, like gloves.
Garbage Disposal Cannot Turn On
Before going through the steps, you should first determine if it is an electrical issue or if it is a hardware issue. For you to find out, you should switch the garbage disposal on and if you can hear humming, but it will not run, then it is an electrical issue. On the other hand, if you run it and you cannot hear any sound, then it is a hardware issue.
If you are dealing with a hardware issue, then you are in luck. It might sound basic, but when you call customer service representatives, their first solution is to check if it is plugged in. If it is not plugged in, then you just have to plug it in and you are good to go.
If it still does not work, you can locate the reset button while it is plugged in and click that. If that still does not work, find the main service panel and see if the circuit breaker is tripped. If it is then just reset the lever of the circuit breaker. If you have done all of those and it still does not work then it is definitely an electrical issue.
Let us go over the steps on how to resolve this electrical issue.
Find the switch that can power the garbage disposal. This can usually be found under the sink or the wall.
Turn off the circuit breaker in the main service panel. This will power off the disposal circuit.
Then, disassemble the switch that is controlling the disposal. Check the wire connections. Some might be loose and need to be tightened.
If everything is tight, then the switch itself might be the problem. So just replace the switch.
Turn the service panel back on and check the disposal if it is working.
If the disposal is still not turning on and even the motor is not making any noise, then it is beyond your hands and it should be replaced.
Garbage Disposal Hums But Will Not Grind
When you run the garbage disposal and it hums but it does not grind, then the problem lies on the inner flywheel. It might be jammed or disconnected altogether. Another indicator of this is that the reset button might pop up. The circuit breaker might also trip.
When this happens, you should not turn it on for much longer because this might burn the disposer of the motor. You can do so by pressing the reset button or shut off the circuit breaker. Usually, this problem stems from the fact that there is a foreign food that is lodged in between the shredder wing and the impellers. If you want to check if there is something stuck, never put your hand inside the garbage disposal. Instead, follow these steps.
Turn off the garbage disposal directly in the service panel and the circuit breaker. Make sure to also turn off the wall switch that controls the disposal.
Get an offset wrench and this usually comes with your unit. Put it inside the turning hole flywheel which is at the bottom of the disposal. When you do not have a wrench, an Allen wrench can also work.
After the wrench is inserted, slowly turn it clockwise so you can dislodge the impeller that is stuck. The same goes for the flywheel. Once it gets dislodged, you can turn the flywheel easily.
You can also use the handle of a wooden spoon or other similar objects so you can reach down the disposal through the opening of the drain. Use the handle as a lever in order to get the flywheel unstuck. Once you reach that stuck flywheel, you can freely turn it.
Use a flashlight to look inside the disposal. If you see the object that got it stuck which is usually bones or a much harder object, you can take pliers to remove it.
When you get to the point where the flywheel turns freely, you can power it back on through the main service panel. Make sure to not turn on the disposal.
Check the disposal again and press the reset button.
Then, run water through the disposal flipping the switch on and off quickly. Make sure that those are short bursts. Keep on turning it on and off. By doing this, the flywheel will spin and will dislodge any debris that is left down the drain.
Leaking Garbage Disposal
When dealing with leaks there are a number of possibilities as to where they are coming from. The most common areas are the hose which leads from the washer to the disposal, the hose that is in charge of discharging the waste material to the drain system, and the sink flange where the disposal is connected to the sink. We are going to talk about the steps on how to deal with these three common leaks.
Leaking Connection in the Dishwasher
This happens when the hose that transports wastewater in the dishwasher to the garbage disposal leaks. So all you really need to do is to check of the hose is leaking.
Find the hose and tighten the clamp of the hose. Make sure that it is also connected properly to the inlet of the disposer.
If it continues to leak even after tightening, that means that the hose should be replaced.
Leaking Discharge Drainpipe
This happens when the plastic pipe that is in charge of carrying the waste water from the disposal up to the trap of the sink drain leaks. This is also possible if the gasket is old and needs to be replaced.
Look for the bolts the hold the discharge pipe to the disposal and check them if they are tight enough. If they are not, just tighten them.
If it is still not working, remove all the pipes and bolts and replace the seal of the gasket that is located between the disposal and the pipe.
Put the bolts back again and secure them tightly.
Leaking at the Sink Flange
It is expected for the garbage disposal to always vibrate, but by doing so, there is the tendency for the apparatus which is holding the appliance to your sink to become loose. At the same time, the sink mounting flange might be broken and needs to be replaced.
Turn the power of the disposal off by way of the main service panel. You can do so by accessing the circuit breaker.
Find the disposer mounting ring which is usually under the sink. Turn the disposal to the left so that you can loosen and eventually remove the unit from the mounting flange.
You can then tighten the three mounting bolts that hold the flange on to the sink.
If the bolts are already tight, the leak might be still there because of the failing plumber’s putty. What you can do is to loosen the bolts again and slightly push the sink flange that is at the sink surface.
Form a bead of new plumber’s putty and put that in between the sink and the sink flange. Make sure that you go around the flange with the putty.
Tighten the bolts again so that it can draw in the sink flange tightly to the surface of the sink. When you see excess putty that might ooze out, just wipe it away.
You can then put back the disposal and turn it on via the service panel.
Check for leaks again while running water in your sink.
Slow Draining of Disposal
This can be caused by a number of things but usually, it is just a build up of fruit and vegetable peels. More than that, it can be due to the slime that forms in the sink when it is not deep cleaned for a long time. The fix for this is to really disassemble some parts and to manually remove the clogged food waste in the pipes.
You have to remove the bolts that hold the discharge pipe on to the disposal.
Then, you can disconnect the drain trap and remove both the trap and the discharge drain pipe.
You can now see if there are any obstructions or clogs and try to clean them out as best as you can.
If you did not find any clogs, the problem might be in the branch drain line which goes through the wall.
You can clean this obstruction with the use of a sink auger.
Put back the drain trap and connect the discharge tube at the side of the garbage disposal.
You can then run water while the garbage disposal is turned on so you can check if it now drains properly.
Weird Noises in the Disposal
You can remedy this by turning your disposal on and of. Next up is to get a wrench or just use the one that comes with your garbage disposal. Look for the opening that is hex shaped and this could be found at the bottom of your unit. Turn the wrench clockwise so you can dislodge whatever it is that is blocking the flywheel. Once it dislodges, the flywheel should spin freely. You can then reset the disposal and run water through it to check if there are any weird noises.
Conclusion: Basic Care for Garbage Disposal
You will never have to do some repair work on your garbage disposal when you follow the following tips:
When grinding food, use cold water because hot water can melt fat that might clog the pipes.
Make sure to not overfill.
Do not put any chemicals into the drain.
Do not grind materials that at overly fibrous (bones, coffee grounds, etc.)
Run some water before you run the disposal and also after using it.
There you have it! The proper way to repair garbage disposal. Definitely, you do not have to do these things when you regularly clean garbage disposal, but if need be, these are the steps that will work best.