What to Do When Your Garbage Disposal Stops Working?

Garbage Disposal in Kitchen Sink

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

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.


What is a Garbage Disposal?

Before we jump into the topic of garbage disposal repair, let’s first talk about what a garbage disposal is.

Also known as a food waste disposer, 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.

Garbage disposals are equipped with powerful motors and rotating blades that break down the food waste, which is then flushed away with water. These appliances offer several benefits, such as reducing the amount of organic waste in landfills, preventing foul odors in the kitchen, and providing a convenient way to dispose of food scraps.


How to Repair a Garbage Disposal

Now, let’s cover what steps you can take to repair your garbage disposal:

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.

Your garbage disposal is humming

It may be that your garbage disposal is running, however, if there’s a humming noise present, it’s likely that you have a garbage disposal jam on your hands. To resolve, turn 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. 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 the unit.

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. More information about our leak fixing services here.

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.

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

Garbage Disposal Diagram

Tips to Prevent Garbage Disposal Problems

To avoid issues in the future, here are some tips that our plumbers would like to share to help keep your garbage disposal functioning great:

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.

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.

Don’t use chemicals

Lastly, avoid using harsh chemicals, such as drain cleaners or bleach, in your garbage disposal. These chemicals can damage the blades, seals, and other components of the unit. Instead, opt for natural cleaning methods, such as vinegar and baking soda, to keep your 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 Valentine Today!

Need help with plumbing? Give our plumbing company a call today at (920) 788-5369. We have proudly served the Appleton community and beyond since we first opened in 1973.

We personally have decades of experience with kitchen sinks and garbage disposals, however we provide a wide range of other plumbing services.

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

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