Garbage disposal issues are pretty common. You may (or may not) be surprised at the amount of calls we get at Narrow Path Plumbing about garbage disposal problems.
Some disposal issues are things you need someone knowledgeable in plumbing (or an actual, professional plumber) for. Major clogs, big electrical issues, and disposal replacement are not things that we recommend the average person take on by themselves, but there are other disposal issues that can easily be remedied.
The following are just some hints and tricks to help you learn how to fix your garbage disposal.
Don’t Put Your Hand in There!
You should never, ever stick your hand in there. Putting your fingers into the drain of your disposal is a recipe for a trip to the emergency room! Even if you are certain that the power is completely cut to the disposal, we don’t recommend you ever put your hand or any other part of your body into the hopper.
Electrical Problems Can Often Be Fixed Quickly
If your disposal won’t make any noise and refuses to turn on, there is usually an electrical issue. This means no humming noise at all. First, press the red “reset” button on the bottom of the disposal. After that, you will want to ensure that the disposal is plugged in and that the breaker that powers the disposal has not been tripped. If the disposal still doesn’t work, there could be an issue with the switch or the disposal itself. Try replacing the circuit breaker switch, attempt to reset the disposal again, and hope that this works; if it doesn’t your disposal will probably need to be replaced.
A Humming Disposal Needs to Be Loosened Up
When your disposal is making a dull humming noise but won’t turn on, your flywheel is stuck with something wedged in the disposal. While you may be tempted to stick your hand in to dislodge the problem, don’t do that! Instead, take the special wrench that came with the disposal, and insert it into the appropriately shaped opening in the bottom of the unit and attempt to turn it clockwise. You may have to wiggle the wrench a bit to get it turning, but when it goes, you will feel the flywheel dislodge. You may have to reset the unit or the circuit breaker after this; keeping the disposal on when it is stuck will cause the disposal and the breaker to turn off.
Leaks and Stoppages Can Be DIY Projects Too
If you are more of the handy type, you can fix other common disposal issues like slowdowns and leaks as well. Depending on the type of leak, a few tightened bolts, plumber’s putty, and some part replacements may do the trick. When it comes to slowdowns and clogs, you should never ever use chemical drain openers in disposals, but taking some components of the disposal apart can help to remedy the problem. Unless you feel confident in your household handy-person skills, you may not want to attempt these types of repairs. If you need help feel free to call us anytime.