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Back to Garbage Disposal Comparison Last update:

Your Garbage Disposal Isn't Working

There's nothing worse than turning on a garbage disposal only to find it's not working. Panic sets in, and it's not a great feeling for sure because many of us don't know where to turn. Here are a few reasons why our disposal has fallen ill.

Let's begin by giving some items that should never be placed in a garbage disposal.

Coffee Grounds may reduce garbage disposal odor, but they also cause problems because when wet they reduce to a dense paste and are not good for the drain because they can clog it.

Bones are hard, and disposals are not made to dispose of them. A few thin chicken bones might not cause a problem, but any other thick bones will jam the machine causing it to overheat and possibly break the impelling blades. Nuts and shells turn into a think, sticky glob when ground in a garbage disposal, which is more problems for the drain with clogging and jams.

Onion Skins when shredded in the disposal, the thin membranes can pass right through the impelling blades causing the stringy slime-like material to wedge in the drain and eventually clog it.

Egg Shells also have a thin membrane lining the inner shell and this can miss the disposal blades and clog the sink drain pipes causing a backup from the clopped pipes.

Now What to Do if Problems Arise:

The Fuse Has Blown

A simple reason for our machine not working could be the fuse has blown or the circuit breaker has tripped. We know that garbage disposals need electricity to run and if there is a blown fuse, there is no power. We need to go directly to the fuse box or circuit breaker and check the fuses or make sure we didn't trip a breaker by accident.

Motor Has Overheated

If the motor has stopped working and it's not a breaker or fuse issue, it could be the motor itself. Do not try checking out the motor before shutting down the electrical power to the garbage disposal. Once we're sure there is no power, reach down into the disposal and if it's warm, the unit's motor may be overheated and has automatically shut down. Try giving the garbage disposal's motor a few minutes to cool down and then reset it. The reset button should be on the bottom or front side of the garbage disposal. Put the power back on, press the reset button and hope that it starts working again.

Flywheel Has Jammed

we know that garbage disposals need electricity to runIf we overload the garbage disposal, there a good chance that the flywheel can jam up. A flywheel can only handle so much garbage and when it can't handle anymore, it will stop working and jam. Inadvertently placing plastic, glass or bottle caps in the disposal will also cause the flywheel to jam. To correct this mishap, we must again shut off the power to the garbage disposal and try to remove the clogged items. If we can't remove all the clog by using our hand, it may mean that there is junk deep inside the disposal's blades. This may require us to try and get the flywheel to twirl by using the wooden end of a plunger, sticking it between the blades and using counterclockwise force to help remove the clutter and get the flywheel back in motion.

Dirty Blades

If the impeller blades are dirty, this may cause the garbage disposal to act strangely or stop altogether. A buildup of mineral deposits or rust is never good and can ruin the disposal. Our garbage disposal should be flushed out often with white vinegar and hot water. If that doesn't help, try adding a white vinegar and baking soda mix to the flush and run the hot water for about two minutes. This may deliver more satisfying results.

If the blades are making a rattling noise, they may be broken, and the garbage disposal can no longer properly grind up waste. In addition, the blades may be dull and need to be replaced or sharpened by a repair person. If this can't be accomplished, it may be time for us to replace the whole machine.

Jammed Grind Ring

A jammed grind ring preventing our garbage disposal from working needs help. The grind ring can be repaired by shutting down the electricity and using a small hex wrench, placing it in the hole at the disposal. Once inserted, move the wrench back and forth until the grind ring comes free. Turn the power back on and turn on the disposal.

Leaking Garbage Disposalleaks can be a serious problem with garbage disposals

Leaks can be a serious problem with waste disposals. Check all connections to make sure a connection hasn't become loose. If that's not the case, try to find out where the garbage disposal is leaking. Sometimes improper installation can cause a leak either because of a loose connection, which can be tightened. If the unit frame is damaged, the garbage disposal will need to be replaced.

Dirty Water

Dirty water can eventually reek havoc on a garbage disposal. If we see the dirty water it is a sign that our disposal is on the verge of clogging or jamming, if it hasn't already occurred. If the disposal is having problems draining or is slowly draining with dirty water backflowing into the sink, the garbage disposal is clogging and jamming and probably needs a repair person to get to the root of the problem.

We hope these garbage disposal problem scenarios help you find ways to repair the disposal without having to call in an expert. By checking some of the basic reasons why the unit stopped functioning, we can save a substantial amount of money. If a repair person must be summoned, hopefully, we have an excellent warranty for free company replacement. Before purchasing a garbage disposal, check reviews about different brands and make sure it comes with a good warranty. The right garbage disposal is a true blessing because in today's world it make's life so much easier.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are 'affiliate links.' This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.
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