If your garbage disposal is not running, first check to see if it is plugged in and receiving power. If so then check to see whether it will turn freely with your service wrench. Most disposers are sent with a self service wrench. The wrench is silver and should be located on or near your garbage disposal. (Check under your sink!) If it will not turn freely using the wrench, the disposal is most likely jammed. Check to see if the reset button has popped out.
Determine whether there's an Allen-wrench port at the bottom of the disposal, which is located under the sink. If there is, insert an Allen-wrench into the port and turn it back and forth to move the masher plate and dislodge the glass. If you can't find an Allen-wrench port, insert the handle of a broom or a hammer into the top of the garbage disposal and wiggle it around to try to dislodge the glass.
Inspect each of these locations while gliding a light-colored rag over the unit; the dyed water will readily show on the rag and reveal the location of the leak. If a leak isn’t immediately apparent, remove the sink stopper and pour a few more cups of dyed water down the sink drain, then check for leaks again. Leaks near the top of the unit are more likely to show themselves while the sink is plugged, while side and bottom leaks are more noticeable while the sink is unplugged.
STEP 3 – Clear out the disposal to remove any bits of hard foods, bone shards or other fibrous gunk that may be preventing the grinding blades from rotating and pulverizing your discarded food. Use a tool (a pliers, wooden spoon, etc.) to do this. Putting your hand in situation where whirling blades of destruction are nearby is never a good idea. (That is what I’ve heard anyway.)
STEP 7 – You may have stubborn object stuck in the blades that is preventing the motor from rotating. This means it is time to apply a little muscle. Get your handy allen wrench out and insert the tip of the short end into the hexagon shaped hole at the bottom center of the disposal. If it doesn’t fit, find or buy one that does. They usually come in multi-pack sets with various sizes to choose form. Your disposal might have had one packaged with it. if so, find it and use that one. Once inserted, rotate it a half-turn clockwise and then a half-turn counter clockwise to see if the mechanism inside the disposal will move at all. If so, it will help to move the blades back and forth a few times to force through the obstruction. After you’re done, restore power to the disposal and turn it on. At this point, your efforts may have helped your disposal to work again. If not, try one more time.
Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.