Garbage Disposal Repair Tips – It Doesn’t Have to Be a Grind

You flip the switch and something isn’t right. Either it doesn’t turn on at all, or it hums, but doesn’t grind. Now what? The team at Herrmann Services has put together these troubleshooting tips to try before you call us for repairs. Try these common fixes first:

Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On

Reminder: Never put your hand down into the garbage disposal (grinding chamber). Your garbage disposal is smarter than you think. It is designed to turn off when there is trouble, for instance, when the disposal gets clogged, if it overheats, or if there is something wrong with the motor, it will shut down automatically. The good news is it can easily be reset.

Make sure the disposal is turned off. Look for a red button underneath the disposal. If it has popped out about a quarter of an inch, simply press it back in and try running the disposal. Sometimes this is all it takes. If the garbage disposal reset button still will not stay in, or if you have to repeatedly reset the overload protector, the disposal may require service or replacement.

Bottom of garbage disposal and reset button

Motor Hums But Won’t Grind

If the motor hums, but there is no grinding sound, that means the flywheel is stuck. Either the reset button will trip or the fuse or circuit breaker in your electrical service panel will trip and turn off the disposal. The flywheel is stuck because something is lodged between it or the impeller(s) and the shredder ring. Learn about the anatomy of a garbage disposal below:

inside view of garbage disposal

Dislodging the Jam

Take the offset wrench that came with the disposal and insert it into the flywheel turning hole in the bottom of the unit. If you don’t see a wrench, it’s just a simple allen wrench and you can pick one up from the hardware store. Turn the wrench clockwise to dislodge the stuck impeller or flywheel. When it dislodges, you’ll feel the flywheel turn freely.

Once freed, turn the power back on at the panel and press the reset button before trying the disposal. But don’t turn on the disposal yet. Run water and quickly flip the switch on and off to spin the flywheel, dislodge any obstruction, and rinse it down the drain.

10 Things You Should Never Put Down Garbage Disposal

  • Grease – it will coat your pipes
  • Bones – they’ll just keep spinning around and around with the blades
  • Celery – the fibrous strings get tangled around the disposal’s blades
  • Coffee grounds – the oil in coffee grounds becomes a sticky sludge
  • Egg shells – ground egg shells become sand-like particles that stick to grease
  • Corn husks – the fibers get caught in the blades
  • Artichokes – again, too fibrous
  • Fruit pits – pits are very hard and can jam the disposal blades
  • Potato peels – starchy vegetables and even pasta can cause a sticky mess
  • Your hand – nuff said

If these tips don’t work, call the plumbers in Cincinnati at Herrmann Services and we’ll be there in a jiffy to fix that garbage disposal or replace it if necessary.

Call us at (513) 737-8423 or contact us online.

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