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Garbage Disposal Troubleshooting Tips

Updated: Mar 31, 2023

Garbage disposals are convenient kitchen appliances that can save you a lot of time and effort when it comes to cleaning up after meals. However, when your garbage disposal breaks down, it can be frustrating and even cause a major disruption in your daily routine. In this article, we'll go over some common troubleshooting tips for a broken garbage disposal.




  1. Check for Power

The first step in troubleshooting a broken garbage disposal is to check if it is getting power. If the unit doesn't turn on, it may be because the circuit breaker has tripped, or the electrical outlet isn't working. First, check the electrical panel and reset the circuit breaker. If that doesn't work, plug in another appliance to the same outlet to check if it's working. If it's not, then the problem may be with the electrical outlet itself, and it needs to be fixed.


2. Reset the Disposal


If the disposal is getting power but not turning on, it may simply be a tripped a circuit breaker. In this case, look for a reset button on the bottom of the disposal unit. Press this button, and if the disposal starts working again, the problem has been resolved. If it still does not work, then move on to the next steps.


3. Check the Blades


If the disposal is making a humming noise, but the blades are not moving, then the problem may be due to something obstructing the blades. Turn off the power to the disposal and use a flashlight to look down the drain. If there is something stuck, use a pair of pliers or tongs to remove it. Do not use your hands, as the blades may still be sharp.

Clear Clogs

If the disposal is not draining or is draining slowly, then the problem may be due to a clog. Turn off the power to the disposal and use a flashlight to look down the drain. If you can see the clog, use pliers or tongs to remove it. If you cannot see the clog, insert a sink plunger into the sink and create a tight seal around the drain. Then pump the plunger up and down to create suction and loosen the clog.


4. Use a Hex Key


If the disposal is making a grinding noise but not turning, then the problem may be due to a jam. Turn off the power to the disposal and insert a hex key into the bottom of the disposal unit. Use the key to turn the blades back and forth to loosen the jam.


5. Call a Professional


If none of these troubleshooting tips work, then it may be time to call a professional. At EAMS Plumbing, our experienced plumbers can diagnose and repair the problem quickly and safely. In some cases, the disposal may need to be replaced entirely.


A broken garbage disposal can be frustrating, but it can usually be fixed with some basic troubleshooting. By following these tips, you can potentially save yourself money and avoid the hassle of having to replace the entire unit.

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