No matter how careful you are, there will come a time where you will need these garbage disposal repair steps handy. A garbage disposal is a useful kitchen appliance that can make cleaning up after a meal and getting your dishes ready for the dishwasher a snap. The advantage to a food disposal is they can rapidly breakdown food waste from preparation or leftovers, which is very convenient for cleaning your kitchen area. Garbage disposal repair is sometimes necessary but there are some easy fixes you should try first before you run to your local home improvement store and by a new disposer. When your food disposal is working, life is good, but with many household appliances, it is aggravating when your garbage disposal is not working. A non-functioning or clogged garbage disposer means anything that goes inside the disposer needs to be cleaned out by hand in order to avoid bad odors and further problems. Knowing how to properly maintain your garbage disposer can ensure your unit lasts for many years, and hopefully you avoid the aggravation of garbage disposal repair.
This website is dedicated to not only fixing your disposer, but also how to keep it from getting to that point with proper maintenance. If you do find yourself in need of a replacement, we have a guide for quick installation and removal available.
Food Disposal Maintenance
Make sure that whenever your garbage disposer is running that the water is also running. This will keep any of the waste broken down by your disposer from clogging inside.
A healthy diet is not only good for you, but also your garbage disposer. Ensure that you avoid putting grease down your food disposal as this will lead to build up and inevitably a clog. Also avoid starchy items such as potato skins, as the starch residue will lead to a build up allowing other broken down waste to build up forming a clog. I know I have had people in the past tell me that putting egg shells into a garbage disposer is a way to cleanse it. This is not true as the egg shells leave behind particles that can and will be caught up in any sludge within your food disposal unit.
Nothing is worse than a smelly food disposal, so in order to combat this, I grind some citrus peels, lemon or orange. This leaves a nice citrusy scent without the use of chemicals. Remember, never use chemicals when cleaning your food disposal!
Garbage Disposer Repair
Garbage disposal repair is relatively straight forward, we have categorized the most common issues below. Always remember, whenever working on a garbage disposal ensure that you have the power to the disposer off before putting your hand inside.
Garbage Disposal not working
If your food disposal is not working, but you hear a humming/buzzing noise, skip to Part 2, otherwise start with Part 1
- Part 1 – Obvious but it does happen, make sure the garbage disposer unit is plugged in. Pulling out some cleaning supplies from under the sink you may have inadvertently pulled the plug out far enough where the power is no longer getting to the food disposal. If the unit is plugged in, there is a small reset button on the bottom that will be popped out if the unit has reset. If that has not resolved your issue, check your circuit breaker box to see if one of the breakers has been tripped.
The last thing we can check before having to replace your food disposal is the switch which controls the power to the unit. In order to replace the switch, turn off the power to switch in your circuit breaker box, replace the existing switch with a new one and restore the power to the switch by turning on the breaker again. If your unit still does not work, unfortunately it will need replaced as there is no garbage disposal repair that can salvage your unit.
- Part 2 – If your garbage disposer won’t run and makes a humming or buzzing noise you have a stuck flywheel. This sound will not stick around long as the reset button or your circuit breaker will trip soon to avoid further damage to your unit. Unplug your garbage disposal or turn off the breaker in your circuit breaker panel.
- Locate the offset wrench that came with your disposer, if you do not have it you can pick one up at your home improvement store.
- Insert the wrench into the flywheel turning hole located at the bottom of the disposer and turn it clockwise in order to dislodge the stuck impeller or flywheel. You will feel the flywheel move without restraint once successfully dislodged.
- Using the handle of a wood broom or similar sized object, insert it into the drain until it you hit the impeller located at the bottom.
- Move the impeller with the broom handle in a clockwise motion until it moves freely
- Make sure it is fixed
- Re-enable the power to the unit and double check the reset button at the bottom, if it is pushed out, push it back in.
- Start running some tap water and briefly flip on and off your garbage disposer a couple of times in order to wash away any debris which caused your flywheel to become stuck.
Leaking Garbage Disposal
There are a number of areas where a leak can occur in and around your food disposal. Here are some of the most common garbage disposal repair tips to fix those troublesome leaks:
- Sink Flange Leak
Unplug your disposer and find your way under the sink. Turn the disposal to the left in order to loosen the disposer from the mounting flange where you will see 3 mounting blots. If they are loose, tighten them up as best as possible and you should be all set with your garbage disposal repair after reattaching the disposal unit.
If the mounting bolts are tight, the issue could lie with the plumber’s putty located between the sink flange and the sink. To fix this, loosen the 3 mounting bolts enough that you can push the sink flange above the base of the sink. Do as best you can to push plumbers putty into this area, re-tighten the bolts and wipe any excess putty from the sink base. Reattach your garbage disposer unit and power source and check for leaks while running your disposer.
- Dishwasher Connection Leak
This garbage disposal repair is pretty straight forward. Make sure that the clamp attaching the dishwasher hose is tight, if the leak source is the hose itself, replace the hose.
- Discharge Drainpipe Leak
Tighten the bolts holding the discharge pipe to the garbage disposer if possible. If they are tight or the leak continues, remove these bolts and replace the rubber gasket in order to fix your food disposal unit.
Clogged Garbage Disposal
Slow draining seems almost inevitable, we have all been there waiting for the water and suds to dissipate cursing our loved ones for the hair or other problems causing our drains to become semi clogged and slow. If you encounter a slow drainage problem with your garbage disposer, the first thing you should do is let it run for a little bit to see if that relieves the problem. If that does not work, the garbage disposal repair answer lies with a clogged drain line.
As stated earlier in this garbage disposal repair document, never use chemicals in your garbage disposer as it has ill effects on the unit itself and frankly, most of them do not work. The easiest thing to do is to remove the drain line from the unit and the drain trap, and remove any impediments. If this does not clear the obstruction, you may have to snake your drain line.
In order to avoid drain problems with your garbage disposal, refer to the Garbage Disposal Maintenance portion found earlier in this document.
Before running to your local home improvement store to purchase a new garbage disposer because you think yours is beyond fixing, make sure to go over our garbage disposal repair section in order to save yourself some hard earned money. You will probably find that you can repair your garbage disposal with just a little elbow grease. If you properly maintain your disposer, and prevent a clogged garbage disposer, you will hopefully avoid having to repair your food disposal at all, so use some judgment before pouring that left over grease or potato peels down your drain. Nothing is worse than a garbage disposal not working.