What to Do When Your Garbage Disposal Stops Working?

My Garbage Disposal is not Working

Help! My Garbage Disposal Stopped Working

A garbage disposal under your kitchen sink is a handy appliance that many of us rely on to efficiently handle food waste in our kitchens. However, as with any other appliance, garbage disposals can sometimes experience issues or stop working altogether. Common issues include jamming, overloading, or electrical issues.

In the event your garbage disposal stops working, we know from personal and professional experience just how frustrating this can be.

A garbage disposal is a kitchen appliance that is installed under the sink and connected to the drain. Its primary function is to shred and grind food waste into small particles, allowing it to pass through the plumbing system easily. When the garbage disposal in your home stops working correctly, it can be a pain.

In this article, the experts at Valentine Plumbing will explore what you can do when your garbage disposal stops working, how to troubleshoot common problems, and provide tips to prevent future issues.

By following these guidelines, you can save time, money, and hassle in dealing with a malfunctioning garbage disposal! Take a look at our garbage disposal services here.


5 Signs a Garbage Disposal Isn’t Working and How to Fix It

Why is my garbage disposal not working?

Well, there are several factors that can contribute to a failing garbage disposal. Let’s take a look at some of the signs your garbage disposal is not working properly and what you can do to resolve the issue:

1. Your Garbage Disposal is Not Responding

Is your garbage disposal not turning on?

First, you should check the power supply. You’ll want to ensure that the unit is properly plugged in and that the circuit breaker has not tripped. If everything appears to be in order, you may need to reset the disposal.

Locate the reset button, typically located at the bottom or side of the unit, and press it. This should reset the disposal and restore power.

If the problem persists, there may be an issue with the electrical connections, and it is advisable to seek professional assistance.

2. Your Garbage Disposal is Humming

Is your garbage disposal humming, but not turning? You may have a garbage disposal jam on your hands.

To resolve the issue, try turning off the disposal immediately to prevent damage to the motor. Then, look under the sink and locate the hexagonal-shaped hole at the bottom of the disposal.

Next, insert an Allen wrench into the hole and manually turn it back and forth a few times. This should help dislodge any stuck debris or foreign objects causing the jam.

Once cleared, restore power and test the disposal. If the humming persists, it may be necessary to call a professional to inspect and repair your garbage disposal.

3. Your Garbage Disposal is Leaking

Are you noticing leaks? Leaks from a garbage disposal may occur due to loose connections, damaged seals, or cracks in the unit.

To resolve the issue of a leaking garbage disposal, you’ll first want to inspect the connections between the disposal and the sink drain, ensuring they are tightened securely.

If the leak persists, examine the seals around the disposal for signs of damage or wear. If a seal is damaged, it will need to be replaced.

For more complex leaks or cracks in the unit itself, we recommended seeking professional assistance.

4. Your Garbage Disposal Isn’t Grinding Well

If your garbage disposal is running but not effectively grinding the food waste, it’s likely that you have either: 1.) dull blades, or 2.) clogs.

To address dull blades, you should turn off the disposal and unplug it from the power source. Use a small brush or a mixture of ice and rock salt to clean the blades and remove any built-up residue.

Another common cause of poor grinding is a clog in the drain pipe. Try using a plunger or a drain snake to clear the clog.

5. Your Garbage Disposal is Emitting Smoke

If your garbage disposal is humming or grinding poorly, in some cases, you may notice smoke coming from the unit.

It’s likely that the smoke was caused by a fried circuit or the motor frying out. In the case of a fried circuit, a professional plumber can go ahead and fix that for you. However, if the entire motor fried out, you’ll have to get a complete garbage disposal replacement.

If your unit starts to smoke, you’ll want to unplug the power right away. Then, remove the lower cover of the garbage disposal and check the wiring. You (or your professional plumbers) can assess for any burnt wires and cut them out safely using a pair of pliers.

If it was just a matter of cutting away the burnt out wires, you or your plumber can restore the power and test out the garbage disposal with running water to see if it’s working properly again.

Learn more here about everything you need to know about garbage disposals.


3 Tips to Prevent Garbage Disposal Problems

To avoid your garbage disposal not working in the future, here are some tips that our plumbers would like to share to help keep your garbage disposal functioning well for years to come:

Garbage Disposal Repair Services

1. Run Cold Water While Using

While operating your garbage disposal, you should always use cold water. The cold water works to help solidify any grease or fat that’s present in the food waste.

As a result, this makes it easier for the garbage disposal to break down the materials and flush out particles through the pipes more effectively.

2. Avoid Overloading It

Do not overload your garbage disposal with excessive amounts of food waste at once. Instead, feed the disposal gradually, allowing it to process the waste more efficiently.

Overstuffing can lead to jams, clogs, and an overall strain on the motor. Learn more here about foods you can’t put down the garbage disposal.

3. Don’t Use Chemicals

Lastly, homeowners should avoid using harsh chemicals, such as drain cleaners or bleach. These chemicals can damage the blades, seals, and other components of the unit.

Instead, you should choose natural cleaning methods, such as vinegar and baking soda, to keep your garbage disposal clean and odor-free.


Garbage Disposal Not Working: In Conclusion

In many cases, troubleshooting and repairing a garbage disposal can be done by following simple steps and guidelines. However, there are plumbing repair situations where the problem may require licensed plumbers to handle the job.

At Valentine Plumbing, our plumbing crew has the expertise and tools necessary to diagnose and resolve more complex problems, ensuring the safe and efficient functioning of your garbage disposal.


Contact Our Plumbers for Garbage Disposal Repair Today!

Need to schedule a repair for a garbage disposal not working? Give our plumbing company a call today at (920) 788-5369. We have proudly served the Appleton, Menasha, Neenah, Oshkosh, and surrounding communities since we first opened in 1973.

In addition, we have lots of 5-star Google reviews online which demonstrate our commitment to quality garbage disposal repair services! We personally have decades of experience with kitchen sinks and garbage disposals, however we provide a wide range of other plumbing services.

These include sink, toilet, and shower installations and repairs, drain installations, drain cleaning, sump pump services, water heater services, kitchen and bathroom remodels, pipe repairs, reverse osmosis systems, and water softeners.

The Valentine Plumbing is looking forward to meeting all your plumbing needs. Contact our team for garbage disposal repair services today!

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