When the Garbage Disposal Stops Working: Tips to Get it Going Again

A garbage disposal is a great tool to have in your kitchen. When you install a garbage disposal, you can expect it to last for many years. However, you should expect to occasionally perform repairs and maintenance in order to keep it working properly. When your garbage disposal stops working, here are some tips to get it going again.

Something is Stuck in the Disposal

If something gets stuck in the garbage disposal, here is what you should do. Before making any repair to a garbage disposal, you should always turn off the power to the garbage disposal at the circuit breaker. This important step keeps you safe while making repairs. Once the power is off, try looking down the drain with a flashlight to see if you can spot the object that is stuck. If you can see it, try pulling it out by using a pair of tongs. If that doesn’t work, the next step is to use the turning key designed for your garbage disposal. Most disposals come with an Allen wrench that is intended to fit into a small hole in the bottom of your disposal. If you don’t know where the Allen wrench for your disposal is, you can pick up a replacement at the home improvement store. Once you have the Allen wrench, insert it into the small hole in the bottom of the disposal. Then turn it back and forth to loosen the jam. After you turn the power back on, flush the drain with cold water and try running the disposal again.

The Drain is Clogged with Food

Sometimes the drain gets clogged with too much food, and you have to clean it out. You can try using a natural remedy first. Just pour some baking soda down the drain, then follow it with vinegar. The combination will fizz and bubble. Let it sit for a couple hours, then flush the drain with hot water. If that doesn’t work, you can try a chemical drain cleaner. Otherwise, you’ll need to empty the P trap. To empty the P trap, first place a bucket under the drain. Use a pipe wrench to loosen the fittings and remove the P trap. Now you can clean out the P trap. If the clog is not located inside the P trap, then you will need to use a snake to clean out the drainpipe.

The Disposal is Overloaded

If your garbage disposal senses an electrical overload, it will shut down as a safety precaution. The best thing to do in this situation is to stop, leave the disposal alone, and give it time to cool down. Once it is cool, press the reset button on the bottom of the disposal. Then run cold water, and try to turn the disposal back on. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you may have an electrical problem with the wiring to your disposal.

How to Prevent Jams

You can prevent clogs and jams in the first place by taking good care of your garbage disposal. You can put ice in it occasionally to sharpen the blades. Do not put fibrous or stringy food, like corn husks or celery, into the garbage disposal, and never pour grease down the drain. Not putting things in the disposal that don’t belong there will go a long way toward avoiding clogs and repairs.

If your garbage disposal isn’t working properly and you need the help of a professional, call Scott English Plumbing. Our plumbers are at the ready to help you repair your garbage disposal. We can help solve all your plumbing problems.