Fixing Jammed Garbage Disposal

Fixing Garbage Disposal For Houston Homeowners

If the garbage disposal doesn’t do anything—meaning it doesn’t even hum or make a sound—the problem is likely to be that it isn’t receiving power. Look for a reset button on the underside of the disposal and press this button. That may be all that’s needed to get it running again.

This video shows How to Fix a Jammed Garbage Disposal.


Garbage Disposal Is Jammed

You’ll know your disposal is jammed or clogged when the motor hums but the disposal doesn’t grind, is overly noisy, or runs and then stops before you turn it off. The problem is often a piece of bone, a fruit pit, or the like stuck between an impeller blade and the drain hole. Don’t continue to run the disposal when it’s jammed as this can burn out the motor. Be sure to unplug the disposal or turn off the electrical circuit that powers it before making any repairs.

To clear a jammed disposal:

1. Unplug the unit or turn off the circuit breaker that serves it.

2. Under the sink, look at the bottom of the disposal for a hex-shaped hole. If you see one, find a 1/4-inch hex wrench that fits the hole (often there is one attached to the disposal). Fit the hex wrench into the hole, and force it back and forth in both directions a few times to free the impellers. (Note: Some models have a reversing switch that accomplishes the same action.)

3. If your disposal doesn’t have a hex hole or you can’t find a hex wrench, put a short broom stick into the disposal (with the with the power disconnected!), force it down against one of the blades, and try to rotate the impeller back and forth.

4. If something has been put in the disposal that shouldn’t have—such as metal, rubber, glass, or fibrous food waste such as artichoke leaves or banana peels—use tongs or pliers to pull the material out. Never use your hand.

5. You may have to remove the disposal to clear a jam. This is actually a lot easier to do than it might seem. 

Disposal Grinds Poorly

If your disposal grinds poorly, make sure that you are running enough water while operating the unit and that you are not grinding matter that you shouldn’t. If you can hear the garbage disposal running but it is not grinding, the blades may be broken. It’s usually easier and cheaper to just replace the entire unit. Call us (713) 812-7070 for your home service and repair needs.

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