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How to Troubleshoot a Broken Garbage Disposal

How to Troubleshoot a Broken Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposal problems are at the top of many rental property maintenance lists. In this guide, we explain how to troubleshoot and fix a garbage disposal.

What causes garbage problems?

Misuse of the garbage disposal can lead to jams and trips. When the wrong foods are thrown down the disposer, it can clog and overwork the device. Some of the waste that should never go down your garbage disposal include:Troubleshoot a garbage disposal

  • Any non-food items
  • Bones or shells
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Banana peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fibrous food scraps, like corn husks or celery
  • Vegetable peels
  • Fats, oils, and grease
  • Sticky food like oatmeal, rice, or quinoa

How to Troubleshoot a Broken Garbage Disposal

First, unplug the disposal. Now check that the outlet is getting power. Plug something else into the outlet and check if it works. If not, the circuit breaker likely tripped. Locate the control panel and the garbage disposal switch. See if it’s in an off position and switch it on and then go check if the disposal is now working.

If your disposal still isn’t working and it’s not a power-supply issue, press the reset button on the bottom of the disposal. This is usually a red button that trips when the disposer works too hard.

That should fix it. If it still doesn’t work, unplug the garbage disposal and inspect the inside of it through the sink drain hole. If the spinning blades are not easy to wiggle around, then there is likely a jam stopping the unit from turning. Using an Allen wrench, turn the center bolt underneath the unit a few times to dislodge any stuck material.

As a last resort, you can take it all apart and unclog whatever is stuck inside. Disconnect everything and unscrew the disposal from the bottom of the sink. Remove the rubber lid and check inside. If still unsuccessful, consider replacing the motor – it might be broken.



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