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A garbage disposal is a relatively simple piece of equipment. However, when you see nothing but a black hole in your drain, the problem seems massive. Here are the basics of a garbage disposal and how to fix most problems that occur.

The purpose of a garbage disposal is to chew up foodstuffs so that they can easily flow down a drain without clogging the pipes. There is a shredder, motor, chamber, drainage pipe, and various seals that keep everything contained. Safety features are also found on garbage disposals, like a reset button and a stopper switch. Familiarize yourself with the layout of this machine before attempting to learn how to fix garbage disposal.

Jammed Garbage Disposal – Humming Noise

Occasionally, discarded food pieces are thrown into the disposal that are not easily shredded. A few common foodstuffs include:

  • Apple cores.
  • Celery.
  • Potato peelings.
  • Uncooked pasta.
  • Small bones.

This can result in a jam or clog within the system. There are other reasons why a disposal may stop working. Nonetheless, this is the major reason why you need to know how to fix garbage disposal issues.

If you turn on your garbage disposal and it hums instead of the normal grinding sound, your disposal is probably jammed. There is an easy method for how to fix garbage disposal problem of this nature. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Unplug the disposal or cut off the circuit breaker.
  2. Find a broom or plunger that has a wooden handle and push the handle into the disposal.
  3. Feel around until the teeth of the grinder are felt at the end of the handle and secure against the teeth.
  4. Pull in a counter-clockwise direction until the teeth begin to move freely.
  5. Remove the handle and turn the power on.
  6. Turn on the switch to the garbage disposal. It should now be operating correctly by dislodging the jam.

Tripped Breaker – No Noise

If something other than food has accidentally made its way into the garbage disposal, the breaker may have been tripped as a safety measure. Some of these obstructions may include:

  • Fish aquarium rocks.
  • Pieces of glass.
  • Rings or other types of jewelry.

How to fix garbage disposal that is completely silent could be as simple as checking the breakers. There is also a little red reset button on the bottom of the unit. Press the reset button first.

If there is still no power, check the breaker of the unit. It is usually the same breaker that serves the dishwasher. If neither one of these solutions works, whatever forced the unit to shut down could still be in there. Follow the above procedure to make sure that the teeth are moving easily. If the teeth are jammed, a tiny hard object may be lodged in the edge of the disposal preventing any type of movement. Follow these steps:

  1. Unplug unit under the sink.
  2. Remove drainage pipe from unit.
  3. Unscrew unit from housing.
  4. Using a flashlight, check along the sides of the interior unit for objects.
  5. Remove obstruction and reassemble.
  6. Plug in unit and try running.

If there is still no type of noise, the garbage disposal may have overheated and burned up. In this case, following how to fix garbage disposal steps will be in vein. You will have no other choice but to purchase a new unit and replace the old one.

Clogged Garbage Disposal – Standing Water in Sink

Having a clogged garbage disposal can be the result of pouring grease down the unit. When grease cools, it solidifies. This can be the result of not flushing enough water through the unit. Even then, the grease may solidify in the pipe that leads to the drain. Taking care of the piping system is also part of knowing how to clean a kitchen sink.

This causes the problem to become one of a clogged pipe that lies beyond the unit. The same measures should be taken that are used to unclog pipes, disregarding the garbage disposal. Although this has nothing to do with how to fix garbage disposal, the initial problem may have started here.

Use a plunger to try and break up the clog and rinse with hot water. If this does not work, use a snake through the drain that is not connected to the garbage disposal.

Leaks Under Sink – Dripping Garbage Disposal

leak coming from pipe with chrome finish with water drops

If there is a puddle of water directly beneath your garbage disposal, do not panic. By using a simple tool, you can learn how to fix garbage disposal problems from leaking. The bolt that holds the unit in place will sometimes loosen from extended use, causing leaking to occur. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Unplug unit to avoid shock.
  2. Check for location of leak.
  3. If any leak is coming from the bottom of the unit, use a hex tool to tighten the bottom bolt.
  4. If the unit appears to be leaking from the sides, a broken seal could need a replacement. Remove the unit and replace the leaky seal.
  5. Reassemble and turn on the power.

As long as all of the connections are tight and in good working order, the leaks should cease. Keep your garbage disposal in good working order by following these tips:

  • Always run water immediately before and after running.
  • Do not put fibrous foodstuffs in unit.
  • Never overfill.
  • Keep chemicals, such as bleach or drain cleaners, out of the unit.

Final Word

Your garbage disposal will serve you well for many years if it is used properly. However, by knowing how to maintain and fix garbage disposal on your own can save lots of money. Before calling a plumber, try these remedies for problems that can occur with your unit and maintain it with care.

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