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You likely never give a second thought about your garbage disposal. This addition to your kitchen sink can help grind up everything from ice to apple peels and then some. It keeps your sink from getting clogged and the whole system running beautifully – until it doesn’t. 

Garbage disposals are tough, but a lot can go wrong with them. Before you make a call to the professionals, try these troubleshooting tips about how to repair a garbage disposal

Garbage Disposal Not Turning On

When you flip the switch for your garbage disposal and it does nothing at all, here’s what to do. 

  • Make sure the unit is plugged in and that there is power to the switch/unit. Be sure to double-check the circuit breaker in your home. 
  • Look at the bottom of the garbage disposal and locate the reset button. If it is out, then press it. If it doesn’t stay in, then wait a few minutes and try again. Once the reset button is on, turn on your garbage disposal to make sure it works. 

Your garbage disposal is designed with this reset switch to protect the unit when it gets overloaded. Quite often, this is the reason why garbage disposals won’t turn on. 

Garbage Disposal is Humming, But Not Working

If you turn on your garbage disposal and hear a humming sound, then you know that there is power to the unit – it is just not working. This is likely due to it being jammed inside. Turn it off immediately to prevent burning up the motor. Then, turn off power to the unit entirely — at your circuit breaker. Make sure the switch is in the off position, as well. 

  • Use a long-handled wooden spoon – or something similar – to stick down in the garbage disposal. Work your way around the unit inside, attempting to turn the flywheel. When it won’t budge, you know something is jammed. 
  • If your wooden stick isn’t working, try looking in the garbage disposal through the drain with a flashlight. Then, using pliers (or something similar) see if you can grab whatever is causing the jam. 

Once you feel the flywheel moving and the jam is taken care of, turn the power back on and see if it works. If it is still humming, you may need to contact the professionals. 

Important note: Even though the power is off, it is not advised that you stick your hand in the garbage disposal.

Garbage Disposal Not Draining

Occasionally, garbage disposals stop draining. You will try to run it, but only find that the water is filling in the sink rather than going down the drain. If this sounds familiar, you could have a clog. 

  • Remove any food debris in your sink and see if the water will drain out. 
  • If so, use a flashlight to see if you can see anything blocking the garbage disposal. You can use tongs or pliers to reach in and remove it. 
  • If you can’t see anything or reach anything, then place a little water in the sink and try using a plunger. Place it over the drain and gently plunge. This could clear out your clog and get things moving again. 

If these tips don’t work, it may be best to call in the professionals who can work to clear out any clogged lines further in the drain.  

Tips For a Healthy Garbage Disposal

Once you are up and running again, consider taking some small steps to keep your garbage disposal running well, such as:

  • Never run your garbage disposal without the water on. 
  • Use your garbage disposal regularly. Not only will this keep it running and prevent corrosion, but it can clear out any debris that may be piling up within the unit. 
  • Try not to overload it. No matter how well your garbage disposal works, overfilling it can cause it to get jammed. 
  • Clean regularly using dish soap. Pour some in the garbage disposal and let it run with cold water for about a minute. Note that the bubbles may start accumulating in the sink, but that’s nothing to worry about. 
  • If you feel the blades are dulling, put a cup of ice cubes in the garbage disposal and grind them. 

Professional Service For Your Garbage Disposal

If you have tried the troubleshooting tips and your garbage disposal is still giving you trouble, then contact the professionals at Appliance Repair 512. We understand how vital your garbage disposal is to a healthy, functioning kitchen. So, we are here to meet your needs 24 hours a day. 

Request a quote or schedule an appointment by calling our office at 512-351-7624.

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