Has this ever happened to you? It’s the end of the day and you are dutifully washing your evening dishes. Your sink isn’t draining quickly, so you flip on the switch of your waste disposer expecting to hear the satisfying sound of your meal remnants being ground into a pulp. Instead – to your shock and dismay – the disposal only hums, or even worse, does nothing at all. Frustrating, right?
If the garbage disposal won’t turn on, then it’s probably not getting power. First, make sure it’s plugged in. It’s easy to forget that disposals have wall outlets. It’s easy to knock a plug out of an outlet accidentally, especially in a dark place like under the sink. If the disposal is plugged in, check the reset button on the bottom of the disposal unit. If the disposal requires resetting, the button will be popped out. Simply press it and try the disposal again.
We apologize in advanced for stating the obvious, but… garbage disposals absolutely do not last forever! No matter how well it’s made or how much money you spend, any appliance that is exposed to thousands of gallons of running water, dish soap, scraps of food, bones, and the rare (we hope) spoon or lime wedge that accidentally gets dropped into the drain is going to wear out in due time. A unit that’s working well should be able to handle a few scraps of veggies or apple slices in a matter of a couple of seconds. If your garbage disposal seems to take forever to accomplish a simple grinding job, makes a strange noise or emits a nasty smell, it may be time to install a new one.
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Turn off the switch, unplug it, clear any debris inside the disposal, and rinse with warm water. Many times there is something stuck in the blades that they can't handle (citrus peels, meats, stringy vegetables, etc.). You may need to turn the blades manually to find a lodged object, and it may even be under the blade. Find the reset button (usually red) and hold it for 1 minute. Plug it in, try again. Some newer models do not have the reset button, there is an opening on the bottom of the disposal to insert an allen wrench. If not, look up your model by manufacturer or Google for further instructions.
Garbage disposals are fairly straightforward machines. When something goes wrong with your garbage disposal, there are aren’t very many things you can do to troubleshoot your unit. This makes repairing your broken garbage disposal a relatively simple task. If your garbage disposal has broken, you can follow these tips to attempt to repair your unit.
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.
Today, we are living in the modern world of light-speed schedules and convenience. Garbage disposals have become a time-saving, convenience. Though garbage disposals make disposing of foods a simple task, they often go overlooked or under appreciated. Nevertheless, when something goes wrong, we cannot fail to notice the foul smell coming from our garbage disposal units.
Whether you repaired or replaced the leaking garbage disposal, test for any missed problem spots. Wipe the unit dry with a clean cloth, then unplug the sink drain (if plugged) and pour a few cups of dyed water into the drain once more. Use a flashlight to inspect the entire unit. If you don’t observe a leak, turn on the power to the disposal from your breaker box and plug in the disposal at the wall outlet.
In most cases if your garbage disposal is humming it is because a foreign object is stuck in the disposal. If an item has been jammed in the blades of the disposal they will be unable to rotate. This can result in a humming noise. If this is the case simply unplug the disposal under the sink then survey the drain hole. If you discover that an object is stuck in the blades remove it. Once you have done this you can plug the disposal back in and flip the switch. This should clear up the problem.
If some bad odors are coming from your disposal, it can mean that it is not chopping up the food finely and there are drainage issues. Try putting lemons peels (not wedges, y’all) through it first and see if that removes the odor. If that doesn’t help or if the smell returns frequently, that may be telling you that that the disposal isn’t swallowing and chopping up your leftovers correctly.
Lay the disposal on its side under the sink so you can make the electrical connections. Make sure the circuit breaker is off. Remove the plate on the bottom of the disposal to expose the wiring and use wire connectors to connect the wires from the disposal to the matching wires from the power supply. Finally, secure the power cord to the bottom of the disposal using the proper connection. Replace the plate to cover the wires. (See Fig 6)
I found a vertical crack, about 1 inch long, along the upper part of the disposal housing. The unit, an insinkerator badger 9, is from 2010. When water goes through the unit, a small amount will drip. The amount of water is actually quite limited, even when using lots of water to wash dishes. The unit is obviously old, but seems to work fine otherwise. What are your recommendations? Replace? or just catch the dripping water (1 table spoon per day).
But there is really only one rule you need to follow: Never put your hand or fingers down into the disposal, even if you think the disposal has been unplugged or its circuit has been shut off. If a disposal gets turned on accidentally while your fingers are in the opening, the likelihood is that you will end up with bruised fingers, not bloody amputation. But this is not a risk that is necessary in any way.
Watch the video below for tips on fixing your garbage disposal unit, including instructions for how to take it apart. If your unit still won't work, then you probably have a burned out motor or an electrical problem, which requires the expertise of a professional. This is when you'll want to call a plumber to replace your garbage disposal unit. It's a fairly difficult DIY project to replace your garbage disposal unit, but if you're up to it, here is a DIY guide for garbage disposal replacement.
Turn off the garbage disposal at the breaker box. Remove the drain pipe if it is leaking there. Most attachment clamps are wire clamps with two protruding wires that are pushed together to release the drain pipe. Push the wires together and remove the clamp. Pull the pipe off and inspect the seal for any debris that may have lodged between the seal and the pipe. Wipe the seal with a damp rag to remove any dirt, debris or food particles. Sometimes the wire clamp loses tension. In that case, tighten the hose clamp down in its place, which may secure the pipe leak-free.
Make sure the reset button on the bottom is not popped out. If your disposal has a cord, make sure it is plugged in and there is power to the disposal. If your disposal has a cord, and there is no power to the disposal, check the breaker or GFI on the wall. If your disposer is hard wired into the wall, check the circuit breaker behind the electrical panel. If humming it is probably jammed. Use the small wrench that can with your disposal to unjam it and stop it from humming.
Kitchen garbage disposals are wondrous appliances, helping to clean away unwanted food scraps in a jiffy. Even though they are normally self-cleaning, garbage disposals need a little love and attention from time to time. This keeps them in tip-top condition and prevents odors from forming. This article will provide you with easy step-by-step instructions on how to safely clean your garbage disposal and effectively eliminate odors, while also providing some useful info on garbage disposal maintenance.
STEP 5 – If you are one of those rebellious types that never listens to wise instruction, then take off any rings and make sure that your hand is lubricated with liquid dish soap or cooking oil to reduce the risk of it getting stuck in the drain opening. Also, have a phone nearby. If your hand does get stuck, you can then call someone (using your other hand, presumably) to call a friend or 911 for rescue. If at all possible, don’t call a friend with a video camera phone, because they’ll probably embarass you by broadcasting your plight on YouTube.
Thanks so much! Clear, easy to follow instructions. We were able to follow step by step and got it done. I read somewhere that they used a car jack to hold the disposal when taking it off and putting it on. That was a really helpful tip for anyone else doing this. They’re fairly heavy. Also, it leaked when the gasket was just placed in the hole. We actually had to take it apart and put the gasket over the plastic pipe, then when you tighten the metal plate to connect it to the disposal, that sealed it. Anyway, thanks again. Being able to do this on our own saved us quite a bit of time and hassle.
Disposers range between $45 and $250, and most hold up fairly well under normal use. It's common for a $50, 1/3-hp disposer with a 1-year warranty to last 10 to 12 years. So what does more money buy? Increased longevity, longer warranties, more power and less aggravation. The better units have stainless steel components, auto-reversing starts and bigger motors. Units that reverse direction with each start greatly reduce stoppages, while larger motors can chew through larger and more varied food loads.
Fixing a leaky sink flange may be very easy. It could be a simple matter of tightening the bolts that hold the flange onto the sink drain. But if that doesn’t work, you may need to apply a new layer of plumbers putty to seal the flange into place. To do this, you’ll need to loosen the mounting bolts and create enough space between the flange and drain to smear a fresh dab of putty all the way around the drain. Then just re-tighten the bolts and wait a few hours for the putty to form a tight seal.
Some folks knocked the instructions. Take heart. It appears that the Waste King guys have heard the criticisms from the negative reviewers. I am guessing that they have been re-written to better explain the installation because they are really easy to follow. My best advice is this: don't be afraid of a difficult or confounding set of installation instructions. It is really easy. Here's what you do. Go to youtube.com and search for a video on How To Remove Your Existing Garbage Disposal because this is the hardest part. You will find one that matches yours. Watch it. I started removing the Badger incorrectly, stopped, watched a video, and then it was a piece of cake. In my case, I shouldn't have removed the three long screws before removing the body of the old one. You do it after it is disconnected. READ the instruction manual carefully. Then go ahead and youtube the Waste King installation video. It is very easy once you see it done. No filing or grinding gaskets, and Good Lord, no car jacks under your sink please. If it is hard then you are doing something wrong. STOP!!! Review the procedure. Start again. The directions are actually very explicit. The parts are well labeled. The diagrams show you what to do. The videos show you what to do. If you prepare yourself (15 minutes of reading and watching videos, tops) you will fly though the installation and be a happy person.
For any major issues with the garbage disposal, you should leave the job to a professional plumber only. Reaching your hand into the drain is dangerous, even if you believe the power is shut off. A plumber can help you evaluate the state of your disposal, and decide whether or not you need a new unit. Upgrading to a faster disposal unit with a higher horsepower can help to protect your pipes and make cleaning up after meals even easier.
If the leak occurred in either of the two connections (smaller = dishwasher, larger = sewer) exiting the side of your disposal unit, it’s a pretty straightforward fix. Loosen the metal clamps on these hoses and make sure the rubber gaskets inside are not falling apart. If needed, replace these gaskets. Reattach the hoses and re-clamp the connections with new metal clamps.
Wrap plumbing tape around the threads of the sink drain where the disposal crews to the sink and the drain threads on the side of the disposal for the drain pipe. Screw the disposal back in under the sink. Screw the drain pipe back to the disposal. Tighten with the pipe wrench. Turn on the water to check for leaks and plug the disposal back in. Turn on the power switch to make sure disposal is running properly.
3. Is my plumbing capable of handling the task? If your current plumbing frequently clogs or backs up, then you should NOT install a new garbage disposer. The additional waste that a garbage disposal creates will only increase the chances of one or both happening. Before installing a waste disposer, you’ll need to have the source of the problem identified and fixed.
Some higher-end units have an automatic reversing jam clearing feature. By using a slightly more-complicated centrifugal starting switch, the split-phase motor rotates in the opposite direction from the previous run each time it is started. This can clear minor jams, but is claimed to be unnecessary by some manufacturers: Since the early sixties, many disposal units have utilized swivel impellers which make reversing unnecessary.