Garbage Disposal Problems? At Justice Plumbing, we’re always happy to step in when home garbage disposal units are out of order. Give us a call for pricing and availability, or keep reading below for some more information and some pictures.
It’s not uncommon for us to respond to a call about a “broken” disposer, only to discover that the unit is simply jammed or needs to be reset. And those are actually easy fixes that most homeowners are capable of performing on their own.
Resetting a Garbage Disposal
If you turn on your garbage disposal and nothing happens (that is, you don’t hear any sounds at all), it is possible that the mechanism needs to be reset. Your unit should have a small button on the bottom, and resetting the system is simply a matter of pressing that button. If your kitchen sink looks anything like ours, clearing out the cabinet under the sink and locating the switch (a flashlight helps) is truly the most difficult part of the process!
Once you hit the button, the disposer should immediately start working again. If it doesn’t, then it might be jammed.
Unjamming a Garbage Disposal
If you turn on your garbage disposal and hear a buzzing sound, then it’s possible that the unit is jammed. In other words, something (be it a large, hard food scrap or a foreign object) is caught in the blades and preventing them from moving. First, unplug the disposal from the wall outlet under the sink.
If scooping at the inside of the drain with your fingers (or a pair of needle-nosed pliers) doesn’t reveal the obstruction, you’ll need to take an indirect approach. On the bottom of your garbage disposal unit, there should be a small Allen wrench socket. Place an appropriately sized Allen wrench into this socket and vigorously work the wrench back and forth for a few seconds. Often times, this motion is enough to dislodge a jam, and the unit will roar back to life the next time you hit the power switch.
Now, if the aforementioned fixes don’t work, then it probably IS time to call a plumber. A professional technician will be able to diagnose the problem and advise you on the solution, whether it’s time to have the system repaired or replaced completely.