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Garbage Disposal Troubleshooting


Garbage disposal troubleshooting normally can be done in a few simple steps. It does not require expensive tools, nor does it take long. Here are a few of the common problems and their resolutions.

Garbage Disposal Turned On, but Not Working

  1. Check power supply to disposal. Make sure it is plugged in and that the circuit breaker is working.

    2. If the power supply is not the trouble, then press the reset button on the unit’s base. If the reset button pops back out, then there probably is a jam.

Garbage Disposal Jammed

  1. Disconnect power supply to disposal.

    2. Use a flashlight to look inside the disposal. If you see an object causing the jam, try to remove it with a pair of tongs.

    3. If step two does not work, then insert a broom or plunger handle in the drain hole. Wedge the handle against the drain and twist it around. Gently try to get the masher plates to move freely. Option: insert a ¼ -inch Allen wrench into the impeller socket hole located on the unit’s base. Move the wrench back and forth, until the impellers move freely. Repeat step two.

    4. After the impeller blades are moving freely, press the reset button. Turn the power back on, and test the disposal. Be sure to run some water while operating the disposal, if the blades are spinning.

Garbage Disposal Leaking

  1. Place a bucket or pan under the disposal. Run water and watch for leaks.

    2. Tighten all connection nuts, screws, and clamps.

    3. If leaking where there is a gasket, remove the drain pipe and replace the gasket.

    4. If leaking from inside the disposal, replace it.

Disposal Works, but Drains Slowly

  1. Check to be sure there is nothing in the disposal causing a blockage.

    2. If the disposal has no blockage, then the blockage is probably in the drain lines. Use an augur or remove the p-trap and try to clear out any blockages.

Garbage Disposal Hums, but Does Not Work

  1. Turn the disposer off immediately. Follow the instructions for removing jams.

    2. If the unit still hums but does not work, then replace the disposal

Grinding, but Disposing Food Poorly

  1. Make sure the disposal unit was designed for the type of food being disposed of.

    2. Clear any blockages in drain lines.

    3. If disposal still does not work well, replace it.


Garbage-Disposer-Troubleshooting.”  Appliance Parts from N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2010.

“Video: Garbage Disposal Rescue.” DIY Network – Home Improvement How-To & Projects : DIY Network. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2010.


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