Garbage disposals are an essential tool in the modern kitchen, making food preparation and clean-up significantly easier. However, this kitchen helper is often overlooked until a problem causes us to stop and take notice! Follow these trouble shooting suggestions for common garbage disposal mishaps.
Problem 1: My Garbage Disposal Hums
Troubleshoot: If the motor is humming but the disposal isn’t grinding, you likely have a jam resulting in a stuck flywheel (the mechanism that allows the garbage disposal’s blades to turn). Immediately turn the disposal off, as continued use with a jam can cause the motor to burn out. First, attempt to remove the jam by using tongs or pliers to pull the obstruction out. Never use your hands!
If that doesn’t do the trick, unplug the unit and look under the sink at the bottom of your unit for a hex-shaped hole. Most disposals will have a hex wrench attached to them that can be fitted into this hole and forced back and forth in both directions to free the impellers. Newer models may also have a reverse switch that can accomplish the same task.
Problem 2: My Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On
Troubleshoot: If your garbage disposal won’t turn on you may have an electrical issue. First, ensure that your disposal is plugged in (most plug into a socket right under the sink). Next, find the reset button on your unit and attempt to reset. If all else fails, check the circuit breaker to ensure that it does need to be reset.
Problem 3: My Garbage Disposal Leaks
Troubleshoot: If you notice a leak below the disposal, first pinpoint the leak’s source and then tighten the offending connection. Common sources of leaks include the sink flange, dishwasher connection, and discharge drainpipe.
Problem 4: My Garbage Disposal Isn’t Grinding
Troubleshoot: If your disposal is running but not grinding, the blades are likely broken. In this case, it is typically more affordable and far less hassle to replace your entire unit.