How to Fix a Garbage Disposal

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal

When the garbage disposal in your kitchen malfunctions, it can cause a huge headache for homeowners. In addition to the nuisance of having a fixture that isn’t working properly, leaving this in disrepair can lead to bigger problems down the line such as a blocked pipe. If your garbage disposal isn’t working properly, you should troubleshoot the problem first before you call a plumber. This may be a simple thing you can fix on your own. If you aren’t able to repair the issue after trying these tasks, then you may need to give Always Plumbing & Heating a call to help you out.


Gather the following supplies to assist you with troubleshooting the cause of your garbage disposal issues:

  • Screwdriver
  • Allen key
  • Garbage disposal wrench
  • Bucket
  • Plunger
  • Clamp

Check Your Electrical

If your garbage disposal stops working completely and has no signs of electrical activity, check under the sink and look at your electrical connections and ensure the device is plugged in. Check underneath the unit for a red reset button and hit it to reset the electrical. Check your main breaker box to see if a breaker was tripped. If none of these solves the problem, you may actually have to replace the unit if the motor has failed.

Rotate the Blades

If your disposal makes a humming sound when you turn it on, but the blades aren’t turning, you may have a blockage preventing the blades from turning. Try the following to clear the blockage:

  • Turn off the disposal and unplug it
  • If there is any water standing in the sink, remove it with a plunger, or if a larger amount of water, bail it out with a bucket
  • Clamp your dishwasher line to prevent dirty water from back flowing into the dishwasher.
  • Insert the Allen key into the access hole at the bottom of the garbage disposal (under the sink)
  • Turn the Allen key back and forth to rotate the blades in an attempt to break up the clog, allowing the blades to move freely.

Rotate the Impeller

If that didn’t fix your issue, attempt to rotate the impeller from the top of the disposal. Ensuring your disposal is still turned off and unplugged, try the following:

  • Insert a garbage disposal wrench or the tip of a broom handle into the top go the disposal
  • Move it back and forth until the blockage breaks up
  • If there is a larger object stuck in there, like a whole potato, a banana peel, or the pit of a fruit, you can attempt to remove it by hand. Put on a glove and reach inside the disposal and try to remove it

In Conclusion

Once you have tried all of the above measures, plug the unit back in and turn it on. You may have found you were able to fix the repair on your own, give yourself a pat on the back! If you still don’t have proper operation at this point, then it is time to call a plumber. It is recommended you unplug your device again until the plumber is able to assist you with the repair. Remember, you shouldn’t put this task off as doing so could result in a blockage further down the lines, causing a more extensive repair. The expert plumbers at Always Plumbing & Heating will do a thorough assessment of your device, identity any problems, and explain to you the most straightforward and cost-effective repair. If it is determined the unit needs to be replaced, we will present you with a variety of options and install the device on the same day so your kitchen is back to normal! Having things in your home not working properly is a huge inconvenience, and we hope to lessen that for you should you need our assistance. We are here to help people like you today, tomorrow…and Always!

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