Garbage Disposal Stops Working

Perhaps one of the most common maintenance items in a home, but one that most people do not typically know how to fix. Therefore they call a plumber and pay him (or her) to ‘fix’ the disposal when it could had been done without the plumber.

  • Firstly, if the disposal ever turns off or isn’t turning on, the first thing to do is to hit the reset button on the side of the disposal. If this turns the power back on, but the motor isn’t working (there is sound and buzzing, but nothing is moving) then you will have to try a different tact.
  • Next, you can take the key that was left for the disposal (an alan wrench), insert it into the bottom of the disposal, and turn. If this doesn’t work, then try a the next step.
  • Take a wooden spoon and ‘stir’ the disposal blades. (in essence you are stirring the wooden spoon in the disposal). This should dislodge anything that happens to be stuck in the blades themselves. You will need to also hit the reset button on the side of the disposal. Try this a few times and eventually the item stuck in the disposal will work itself out of the disposal and down the trap.

If after trying these few steps the disposal is still not turning on, then it is time to call the plumber.

Oh yeah, one final pointer on disposals. The unfriendly ‘sink clog.’ No one likes this- especially when they are preparing food fir a dinner party and the guests are standing right there. The way a sink works is the same as a toilet- gravity. In fact the entire plumbing system is based on gravity.

Plunge the side of the sink opposite of the disposal side a few times. This should help to push through the food clogging the p-trap and now you can turn on the disposal to move it the rest of the way out and down the drain.

Voila! Your sink clog is gone. Just like a toilet clog. Novel concept.