Replacing a failed garbage disposer can seem daunting. There's the usual trepidation about electricity and water, the unfamiliar sink connection and enough drain fittings to make leaks a real possibility. Then there are the hassles of comparison shopping and the suspicion that the job could run into real money. And finally, failed disposers don't often leak, at least not in the beginning, so it's easy to put things off.
Leaks can also happen at the dishwasher connection and the discharge drainpipe. The dishwasher connection may simply need the clamp tightened or need a replacement hose. For the drainpipe, tightening the bolts may help, but if that doesn’t work, the gasket may need to be replaced. No matter the situation, it is best to give us at John Moore a call rather than trying to replace these things yourself to make sure it is done correctly and to make sure the problem doesn’t get even worse.
Turn off power to the disposal before attempting to clear the jam. Use the wrench to turn the blades in both directions to loosen the obstruction. Try to run the disposal again. If you don’t hear the motor at all, it’s possible that your disposal’s overload protector has been tripped. If your disposal has this feature, it can be reset by pushing a button somewhere on the outside of the unit.
Thank you for sharing this tutorial. My husband and I tried to fix our garbage disposal last week but we couldn’t get it to work. When we turn it on, it makes a humming noise, but nothing is blocking the blades. We might need to get a new disposal, but we’ll probably have a professional look at it before we decide. We’ll keep your tips on hand, just in case.
Some towns and cities require a homeowner to get a permit before being allowed to install a new food disposal system. Others have outright outlawed the use of disposals due to limited sewer and water capacity. For example, an increasing number of cities in California has banned the installation of new garbage disposers in homes due to the ongoing drought the state is suffering from.
We hate to say it, but stoppages in garbage disposals are generally due to “operator error”. Either we have put too much in at one time or tried to force something through, smashing it with a spoon (there is that pesky spoon again!). Pasta, rice and salad are killers of garbage disposal drains and really need to be put down the drain in small amounts; if you put half a pot of rice in at the same time you definitely stand the change up plugging up the pipes under your sink.

If you misplaced your wrench that came with the unit, don’t worry. The store you got your unit from should have replacements for as little as $3 to $5. An Allen wrench will usually work well, too. Replacing the motor is the most costly repair for a disposal, so replacing the unit may be your best bet. If the disposal is jammed and won’t budge after using your wrench, turn it off and call us right away.

One last thought - Beef bones? I see that Consumer Reports tests these things by measuring the fineness of the grind using beef bones. Do people really put beef bones down a garbage disposal on purpose? You might think I'm babying mine, or maybe that's why I didn't have excessive vibration when I use it, but I'll put the beef bones in the trash and grind up the rest of the stuff with this and be just fine for many years to come, I hope!
Not every garbage disposal was created equal, and it can be difficult to discern which one is right for your home. After all, a quick internet search will show you that there are hundreds of different models to choose from. You shouldn’t automatically choose the cheapest or best rated garbage disposal. You need to find the one that is right for your unique needs.
Keep anything too hard out of the disposal. The shredder will dull and become less efficient. Small hard objects can also get stuck and jam the rotating parts. Each garbage disposal has its own capacity for hard objects. The more expensive models of the same brand tend to have higher hardness capacities. The instruction manual usually specifies a list of objects to avoid. You can also gain experience with your own garbage disposal. Strong vegetable fibres can jam some garbage disposals, as well. If something may be harder than what the disposal handles, just put it in your trash can or think about setting up a worm composting bin. Some items to avoid are:
Keep anything too hard out of the disposal. The shredder will dull and become less efficient. Small hard objects can also get stuck and jam the rotating parts. Each garbage disposal has its own capacity for hard objects. The more expensive models of the same brand tend to have higher hardness capacities. The instruction manual usually specifies a list of objects to avoid. You can also gain experience with your own garbage disposal. Strong vegetable fibres can jam some garbage disposals, as well. If something may be harder than what the disposal handles, just put it in your trash can or think about setting up a worm composting bin. Some items to avoid are:
We’re starting with clogs because they’re actually only *kind of* garbage disposal problems. Technically, garbage disposals can get jammed (see below!), but if water stands in your sink and takes forever to drain, it’s probably because the kitchen sink pipe has been clogged. Many different materials can cause clogs, from sediment, to scale, to grease, to food remains. Depending on the culprit, clogs may begin to smell. Ideally, your garbage disposal should have ground up debris enough that it wouldn’t clog anything up, but nobody’s perfect.
Prices, promotions, styles, and availability may vary. Our local stores do not honor online pricing. Prices and availability of products and services are subject to change without notice. Errors will be corrected where discovered, and Lowe's reserves the right to revoke any stated offer and to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions including after an order has been submitted.
×