Waste disposal units may jam, but can usually be cleared either by forcing the turntable round from above or by turning the motor using a hex-key wrench inserted into the motor shaft from below. Especially hard objects accidentally or deliberately introduced, such as metal cutlery, can damage the waste disposal unit and become damaged themselves, although recent advances, such as swivel impellers, have been made to minimize such damage. More problematic are drain blockages caused by shredded waste that is fibrous, e.g., artichoke leaves, or starchy, e.g., potato peelings.
If there is no item stuck in the blades of the disposal obtain the Allen wrench that should be attached to your disposal or that came with it. There is a breaker socket located on the bottom of most disposal brands. Place the Allen wrench in the breaker socket and turn it back and forth. By doing this you may be able to unlock the source of the problem. Just be certain that the disposal is not turned on when doing this.
The metal sink flange that sits directly inside the sink drain is typically sealed around the top with plumber’s putty (a clay-like sealant) and then secured from under the sink with bolts. If the plumber’s putty deteriorates, or the bolts loosen, the flange can no longer form a watertight seal between the sink drain and the disposal—which could cause a leak at the top of the unit.
Set the garbage disposal down where you can work on and see the rubber gasket. Peel off the old gasket and put the new gasket in the same place making sure that it pops into the lip and sits flat. Now you are ready to set the garbage disposer back in place. Use your knee or a helper to lift the disposal into place while looking down at it from above the sink to verify that the gasket sits flat before locking it back into place. Then look underneath the sink to make sure that all three mounting grooves are locked in. Reconnect the drains and plug the cord back in to test it for leaks.
Even though a leaking garbage disposal is a fairly simple fix, there can be a few factors that can complicate the process somewhat. For example, there are a few different places within the connection system that may spring a leak, so often the hardest part of fixing a leaking garbage disposal is trying to determine where the leak is coming from.Aside from the obvious connections, possible areas for leaks include water inlets and outlets as well as rings and seals.
The good news is that a leaking gasket can be easily replaced. Most home improvement or local hardware stores will carry them, and they are usually inexpensive. However, depending on the particular model of your garbage disposal, it may require a specially fitted rubber gasket. To ensure that you get the right gasket the first time, write down your garbage disposal’s model number, take it to the store, and ask an employee to match it up for you.
Because it’s out of sight, it can be easy for some homeowners to forget they even have a garbage disposal — especially if it was installed by a previous owner. However, an unused unit can rust and seize up, which can lead to leaks and mechanical problems. Make a habit of running your disposal for a minute or so every couple of weeks, even if you don’t actually grind anything.
Place the garbage disposal on a wide, clean work surface and locate the rubber gasket. The old gasket should be peeled off, and the new gasket should be mounted in the same spot. Take extra care to make sure that it sits flat and that it pops into the lip. Now you are ready to re-install your garbage disposal. Plug the cord back in reconnect each of the drains to make sure that there are no leaks.
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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.