Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Garbage Disposal Repair – 3 tips to get it gobbling again.

Today’s garbage disposals can take a licking and keep on ticking. They last a long time. Think of all that food that goes down yours… You use it thousands of times, but when you flip the switch that one time and there is no sound, you can’t believe that it quit. “Right when I needed you most!”

As much as you think it has finally let you down for the last time, it most likely is not deceased. Here are a couple of tips to try before you call your plumber to install a new garbage disposal. One of them will probably get it gobbling again:

• Completely dead – On the bottom of the unit is a recessed red button. This is a reset switch. It shuts the unit of automatically when you’re doing something that doesn’t agree with it. Push the button all of the way in. Turn on the water. Flip on the power. If it doesn’t work, see step 2.

• Check breaker panel – Open the door to your home’s main circuit panel box. Look at all switches to see if one is in the off position. If so, and hopefully it is labeled with a likely name like appliances, kitchen, disposal, etc. – turn it back on and try the disposal again.

• Hums but no grind – This is most likely due to something being lodged in the blades. A large hex key (Allen wrench) came with your disposal when you first purchased it. Hopefully it is in the cabinet under the disposal or in a drawer nearby. If you can’t locate it but have a hex key set in your toolbox, that will work too. Located at the center of the bottom of the unit (next to the red button) is a hole. In that hole is the female union for the hex key. Put the key in place and turn it clockwise a few turns then counter-clockwise. Remove the key. Again, water and power. Still nothing? Your final hope (Do this without attempting to turn the power on) is to place something long, like a broom handle down into the disposal and attempt to spin the blades manually. It can also help if you shine a flashlight into the disposal to see if there is anything visible that is lodged in the blades.

IMPORTANT: Never place your hand down through the rubber flange in the disposal. Use extreme care if you notice something lodged in the blades. It is best to use long pliers or a magnetic tool to remove items from inside the disposal. Power should be turned off at the breaker box for this. The blades mean business and will have you on the way to the emergency room in seconds if the unit suddenly activates and your hand is within range.

If all the above fail, you are ready for a new disposal my friend.

Closing thought… In our house, we consider all items going down the disposal. For most families the disposal replaces the garbage can for throwing food away. Remember – It all has to run the course of your drain and sewer line. Eventually, overuse of the disposal can contribute to drain clogs. Use your disposal sparingly for longer life and fewer drawn cleaning bills.