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What to Do If Your Garbage Disposal Stopped Working

This Is What You Need to Do If Your Garbage Disposal Stopped Working

You are going about your kitchen duties and preparing your food for that big party in the evening. Then suddenly, your garbage disposal stopped working. You hear a distinct noise but the unit doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

Or, the device may still be working but you notice a very slow drain. Regardless of the signs that you see, you need to fix your garbage disposal the soonest possible time. 

It’s one of the most important parts of your kitchen plumbing system. Beyond the immediate benefits of grinding your food waste into tiny bits for easy disposal, your garbage disposal unit also contributes to the country’s reduction of landfill waste.

But what exactly should you do when your garbage disposal quit working? Continue reading below for a comprehensive troubleshooting guide.

Garbage Disposal Stopped Working? Check the Electrical Side

The first thing to do when your garbage disposal stopped working is to check the electrical side of things. The problem is likely electrical if you do not hear any sound after flipping the switch on. 

For starters, check if you plugged the device to the wall socket accordingly. If so, unplug it then wait for about a minute before plugging it in. 

If it doesn’t work, hit the reset button, which you can find at the bottom of the unit. This reset button comes with a built-in circuit breaker.

Push it back into the unit after the reset button trips it.

If nothing happens, then the problem may be with the wiring. Thus, find the switch powering the unit. This can be under the sink or on the wall.

Go to the main service panel then turn off the circuit breaker. Thereafter, go back to the switch and disassemble it. You want to examine the condition of the wires.

Sometimes, it can be a case of loose wiring. If you see any loose wires, tighten them up. If the wires are in excellent shape, then the problem is likely with the switch itself.

Hence, replace the switch with a new one.

That Whirring Noise

If your garbage disposal stopped but you heard a whirring or humming noise, then the problem is likely with the inner flywheel. The humming sound means something is jamming the flywheel.

Another possible reason for the noise for the humming noise is overheating. 

When either of these happens, you may notice the circuit breaker to trip quickly. It can also cause the reset button to pop.

In a situation like this, you want to turn off the unit’s power immediately at the electrical service panel. Do this by shutting off the circuit breaker. Do the same thing with the wall switch that controls the device.

Get the offset wrench that came with your garbage disposal unit. Find the turning hole of the flywheel at the bottom of the unit. Insert the wrench into the hole then turn it clockwise.

This will dislodge the flywheel or impeller that is stuck.

In case you cannot find the wrench, you can use a broom handle to dislodge the flywheel. Never use your hand to dislodge the flywheel. 

Machine is Leaking

Another common problem that is relatively easy to fix is a leaking garbage disposal device. However, it is crucial to note that there are different kinds of leaks that may affect your unit. 

If the leak is at the sink flange, turn off the power by shutting down the circuit breaker at the electrical service panel. Next, find the disposer mounting ring under the sink. Turn the disposal counter-clockwise to remove the unit from the mounting flange.

Look for the three mounting bolts that hold the flange to the sink. Tighten these bolts down. If you see that the bolts are tight, the problem can be bad putty by your plumber. If so, loosen the three bolts.

Thereafter, push the sink flange. You want the flange to be slightly above the sink’s surface. In the space between the sink and the flange, place a bead of plumber’s putty. 

Make sure to apply the putty completely around the flange. Tighten the bolts again and wipe off any putty residue that may come out when tightening. Turn on the garbage disposal and check if there are any leaks.

In case the leak is at the discharge drainpipe, check the bolts that hold the discharge pipe if they are tight. If they are, remove the bolts and the pipe. Change the gasket seal between the disposal and the pipe with a new one.

Reinstall the bolts and tighten them up again.

For leaks at the dishwasher connection, tighten the hose clamp accordingly.

Additionally, call a reputable plumber if the leaks remain persistent. Find one that offers leak detection to determine possible slab leaks and you can bet we do!

A Slow Drain

Another common problem you may experience is a slow drain. This happens when there is clogging. To resolve this, remove the bolts securing the discharge pipe to the garbage disposal. 

Find the drain trap and disconnect it. Remove the trap, as well as the discharge drainpipe. From there, look for any food residue that’s causing the clogging and clean it out.

If there is none, the clog is likely on the branch drain leading to the wall. You will need a sink auger to take out the obstruction.

Return the drain pipe and reconnect it with the discharge tube. Run the faucet and see if the drain improves.

And if problems continue to persist or reoccur often than normal, you may consider replacing your garbage disposal unit. But if you choose to get a new one, there are key factors you need to consider. 

Also, avoid using chemical drain cleaners if you have a garbage disposal unit in place. These chemicals will only fill your sink with harmful materials that can damage your garbage disposal. And when this happens, the damages will void the warranty.

Let’s Fix Your Plumbing Concerns, Today!

Knowing what to do if your garbage disposal stopped working is essential for any homeowner. But if the problem is beyond your garbage disposal unit, then you came to the right place.

We offer residential and commercial plumbing services and plumbing maintenance

We handle simple problems like clogged drains, as well as complex ones like water and sewer line repairs. Connect with and request for a job estimate. Talk to us and let’s solve your plumbing issues, today!

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