Garbage disposals are great kitchen appliances that help keep messes at bay, and make kitchen cleanup easier. Yet every so often, these appliances may require garbage disposal repair. The good news is, before calling for home appliance repair services, a homeowner may be able to troubleshoot the simpler problems, and fix the unit on their own. Check out the tips referenced below regarding the most common garbage disposal problems, and how to determine if you can fix them yourself, or if you need the help of a professional a garbage disposal repair tech from one of the local home appliance repair services to help.

A Note About Safety

A garbage disposal can be an extremely dangerous appliance. Those who own one of these units should never put their hands inside of it, even when attempting to troubleshoot a problem. Always use a broom handle or something similar, for safety's sake.

Common Garbage Disposal Problems

The two most common problems displayed by a garbage disposal are: 1) either the unit does not work at all; or, 2) it gets stuck. Following are a few ways to troubleshoot and remedy these problems:

  • Disposal Does Not Turn On - First, make sure the disposal is actually plugged into its dedicated electrical outlet, and then push the reset button on the unit to make sure the problem is not just a popped circuit breaker. Also check the fuse box to make sure the circuit is receiving power by resetting the breaker, or replacing the fuse if necessary. If this does not remedy the problem, there may be some other electrical problem with the unit, or the motor could be dead. Further diagnostics is necessary.
  • Garbage Disposal Is Stuck - When the motor is obviously working but the disposal is not grinding, this usually means the blades are stuck. Unplug the disposal, or turn off the circuit breaker to the appliance, and then attempt to clear the jam. This can be done in a number of ways including clearing the impellers from the underside of a unit that accepts a hex wrench to turn them, or by putting a broom handle into the drain to try to turn the blades and dislodge whatever may be stuck. In some cases it may be necessary to unbolt the disposal and remove it in order to clear a stubborn jam or retrieve items that have fallen into the unit and are preventing it from working.

Other Garbage Disposal Problems

While power supply problems and stuck disposals are most common, sometimes these appliances can experience other issues that demand attention, such as the following:

  • Clogged Drain - Sometimes, if too many things are put into the disposal at once, the drain can become plugged. If the disposal is working but water does not go down the drain, plunging with a sink plunger may help as there is likely a blockage somewhere in the drain pipe.
  • Leaky Disposal - When a disposal leaks from the underside, this often indicates that either the installation bolts are not tight enough or not seated correctly, or there is a problem with the gasket in the sink drain that prevents leaks. Remove the appliance, replace the gasket, and reinstall the unit - making sure that bolts are screwed on correctly, and properly  tightened. If the leak persists, some plumber’s putty will probably help to better seal the gasket.
  • Does Not Grind Well - When everything seems to be working correctly, but the blades do not grind properly or make a lot of noise, try letting more water flow into the drain. When the disposal works but nothing is being ground up, the could mean the blades are broken. If this is the case, replacing the appliance is usually most cost effective.

By taking some time to troubleshoot whatever the problem might be, a homeowner can save themselves a little money on unnecessary home appliance repair services. When none of the remedies mentioned above seem to help, calling a garbage disposal repair service is recommended so the appliance can either be repaired or replaced!

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