My Garbage Disposal Isn’t Working!

Once you have a garbage disposal, you feel as if you could never live without one again! Dinner cleanup is easier, you prevent clogged pipes and your garbage doesn’t get stinky with rotting food. Plus, disposals are good for the environment! Because food is ground up into tiny pieces, you eliminate the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.

How to Maintain your Garbage Disposal

As useful as they are, garbage disposals do require maintenance and are only expected to last about ten years. To keep yours working hard for you every day, practice these maintenance tips:

  1. Once a month, run a cup of ice through your disposal to keep blades sharp.
  2. Be sure you are using your unit regularly to avoid corrosion.
  3. Only use cold water to flush food as hot water can cause grease to stick to your pipes.
  4. Don’t overload it.
  5. Avoid foods like coffee grounds, banana peels, bones, egg shells, onion and garlic skins, and expandable, starchy foods like pasta, rice and potato peels.

Why My Garbage Disposal Isn’t Working

Has your disposal stopped working or is acting strangely? Here are the top seven reasons why your garbage disposal may be on the fritz:

  1. My garbage disposal won’t turn on

    If there are no sounds or activity, this usually indicates that there is an electrical issue preventing current from getting to the disposal.

  2. My garbage disposal won’t turn off

    In this case, your starter switch has probably shorted out and needs to be replaced.

  3. My garbage disposal is humming, but is not operational

    This most likely means your impeller plate (the rotating part of the disposal that the blades are attached to) is being prevented from turning. Be sure to turn your garbage disposal off quickly when you see this issue as it can burn out the motor.

  4. My garbage disposal is leaking from the top

    Over time, the vibrations from the grinding can loosen the flange that connects your disposal to your sink. When this seal isn’t tight it causes leaking.

  5. My garbage disposal is leaking from the bottom

    A leak from the bottom of your unit can indicate there is a failed internal seal or the shell of your disposal has cracked.

  6. My garbage disposal is clogged

    If your sink is full of water, that means something is in your disposal that shouldn’t be. Too much food, the wrong kinds of food or a foreign item like a fork can all cause clogs.

  7. My garbage disposal stinks

    Your unit may still be working, but it sure makes it unpleasant to do the dishes! This is caused by rotting food that didn’t get flushed through the system.

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal

If you attempt to fix your garbage disposal on your own, please be careful! Before you even inspect your disposal, be sure you have unplugged it. And never, ever put your hands down the drain. A broken disposal could start working at any time.

OK, now that we are sure you will complete the project with all your fingers attached, here are a few fairly-simple ways to troubleshoot and, hopefully, fix your garbage disposal:

  1. Push the reset button

    Sometimes this is all it takes! The button is usually on the bottom of your unit. Your disposal does have to be plugged in for this to work.

  2. Check your electrical panel

    Be sure the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. Flip it back if it has.

  3. Check your outlet

    Plug another powered device into the same outlet to see if it works. If it doesn’t, you know the problem is not with your garbage disposal.

  4. Rotate your impeller plate

    Insert a garbage disposal wrench into the hole at the bottom of your unit. Turn it clockwise to free the stuck impeller.

  5. Remove the clog

    Check out our clog blog, for step by step instructions on how to do this.

  6. Kill stinky bacteria

    Using baking soda and white vinegar, dish soap, Borax or even mouthwash, pour a generous amount of cleaning liquid down the drain and let it sit. Then let fresh, cold water flow through.

Garbage Disposal Repair in Loudoun County, Virginia

If you are still stumped on how to fix your garbage disposal, it may be time to call the professionals! Kiddco Plumbing is at your service to repair or replace your disposal. Give us a call for a quote today: (703) 435-4441

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