Garbage Disposal Common Issues and Repairs

A Kitchen Appliance and Plumbing Fixture Eliminates Leftover Food

Fixing disposal problems is actually a simple job, if you’re equipped with the right knowledge. Nonetheless, a lot of people are still scared on dealing with garbage disposal problems, which usually lead to freaking out and calling a professional to get some help. To save you from this dilemma, here are some do it yourself solutions for you garbage disposal problems.

Common Garbage Disposal Issues and Repairs

Disposal is Slow to Drain

This is most likely a partial obstruction. Do not use Draino, Liquid Plumr, or any other caustic chemical drain-clearing chemical. If it doesn’t work, the problem will become much bigger. Instead, try a simple homemade drain cleaner. Look into the unit with a flashlight and ensure there is nothing impeding water flow. If there is, scoop it out.

Otherwise, remove the drain pipe and discharge pipe. If they are clogged, clean them out. Otherwise, use a plumbing snake in the discharge pipe going into the wall.


Disposal Noise Problems

One common problem encountered with garbage disposals is that they may produce too much noise when used. You might hear some rattling or grinding sounds, every time you turn it on. If noises like these are present, it is probably caused by an object, possibly a metal which was unintentionally dropped down your disposal.

Having this kind of problem unattended can cause damage to your disposal blades. To fix it, turn off the electrical power for that area of your house. Then, get a flashlight and a needle nosed pliers. Using these, look for an item which causes the noise.

Once you find the item that simply doesn’t belong inside your disposal, and then pull it by using your pliers. After this, the noise should be gone and your disposal will do just fine.

When Nothing Happens Another commonly experienced problem is when nothing happens when you turn on the disposal. Generally, if this is the case and you can’t hear even a single hum, it means that power isn’t getting into the disposal unit.

It could be that you have to reset your unit or your circuit breaker is tripped. First, you should look beneath your sink and take a look at your unit. You should find a small red button placed somewhere on the bottom side. Press the button and hold it for a number of seconds.

After pressing, try to use your unit again. It should start normally, as if it is brand new. If it doesn’t start, then you have to do another trick. Find your electrical panel and see if you have a tripped circuit breaker. Try to reset the breaker that is in charge for that area. After resetting, go back to your drainage unit and do the first step all over again.

This should fix the problem.

If nothing still happens, then it’s about time that you call a professional, because it can be a sign of a bigger overall problem.

While working on your garbage disposal, you might encounter a leaky pipe, learn how to repair it in this post

Leaking Garbage Disposal

If the leak is occurring at the discharge pipe, make sure the connecting bolts are snug and haven’t loosened up from vibration. Otherwise, disassemble, replace the gasket, and re-bolt.

If it’s leaking where it connects to the dishwasher, make sure the tube is in good shape and the hose clamps are secure.

One thing to note while checking the tube to the dishwasher is that it doesn’t run straight downhill from the disposal to the washer. It should not be kinked, but it should loop up so that part of the tube is higher than where it connects to the washer. Otherwise, some waste water may make its way into the dishwasher where it will pool and accumulate.


Disposal Humming But Not Working

This is the last real possible problem that you can encounter with your disposal. Sometimes if you place wrong kinds of food in your unit, it gets jammed up. This can also happen if you put too much food down your disposal without running it.

To fix this, turn off your unit’s the power and use pliers to reach into your unit and pull out whatever it is that is obstructing the blades and keeps it from spinning. After you have pulled the clog out, get an Allen wrench and use it to spin the blades manually.

If the blades are now turning, then you are done with the problem. If it’s still not spinning, this means that there are still more that you should remove. Be sure that you remove everything out, so that you won’t encounter the same problem again in the near future.

Once you got the blades spinning manually, try to turn on the power, reset your unit and see if it’s working. If it’s still humming, then check for more clogs. If you’re sure that there are no more obstructions and the problem is still there, then you’ve got the green light to call a professional.


The Disposal Unit Does Not Hum or Turn

This indicates an electrical problem. There should be a reset button located on the base of the unit. Try resetting it. Does it run now? If not, check the circuit breaker and reset it. If it still won’t run, use a digital multimeter or similar electrical testing tool to see if the wall switch has power on both sides. It may be necessary to replace the electrical switch.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, it’s time to buy and install a new garbage disposal.

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