Posted on: July 5, 2016
By: Alan O'Neill
Posted in: Plumbing
Having a clogged garbage disposal can be a great bother. A clogged garbage disposal can be a simple fix but many times the issue is much more sever. A clogged garbage disposal is most commonly caused by starchy item like a vegetable peel, or a fat buildup caused by pouring used grease down the sink.
A clogged garbage disposal is not always easy to fix.
How To: Fix a Clogged Garbage Disposal
As annoying as a clogged garbage disposal can be, the good news is that in many cases, you can fix the problem yourself, saving the cost of a visit from the plumber.
Garbage disposals are handy household tools, but if you’re not careful, they can get jammed or clogged. To keep this from happening, it’s important to know what not to put in a disposal. The list includes:
- Fibrous foods
- Coffee grounds
- Egg shells
- Potato skins
It’s also important not to overfill your disposal. Plus, always remember to run cold water into the unit as you’re grinding food. Doing so not only keeps the unit cool, but also helps force the garbage through the cutting blades.
If your disposal does get clogged, here are three things you can do to try to fix it. First, see if there’s something blocking the blades. Use a stick of some kind to try dislodging whatever may be stuck. If that doesn’t work, the next step is to check under the sink. Locate the small hole at the bottom of the disposal and reach for the wrenchette that came with your unit. If you don’t have a wrenchette, an Allen wrench will usually do the trick. Move the tool back and forth to free any object that might be lodged in the disposal. If this doesn’t work, it’s possible the circuit breaker may have been tripped. Find the red button at the bottom of the disposal, and press it to get the power flowing again.
How to Fix a Clogged Garbage Disposal Without a Plumber’s Help
- Turn off the circuit breaker to the garbage disposal at the main circuit breaker panel.
- Flip the garbage disposal switch (usually mounted on the wall near the sink) to the “On” position to verify that power is shut off. The disposal should make not turn or make a humming sound. Turn the switch to the “Off” position. Hold a noncontact circuit tester against wires leading to the garbage disposal to determine that no current is flowing to the device.
- Lie down under the sink so you are looking up at the bottom of the garbage disposal. Locate the hole in the center of the unit that looks like the head of a hex-head bolt. This is the disposal’s center shaft.
- Insert an Allen wrench into the hex-shaped hole and turn the wrench back-and-forth. This turns the shaft, which turns the blades by hand. You may need to do this several times until you feel the resistance decrease and you can turn it all the way in one direction.
- Remove the Allen wrench. Push the disposal’s reset switch at the base of the unit. This is usually a red-colored button.
- Turn on the circuit breaker supplying power to the disposal’s switch. Flip the switch on to test the disposal. It should turn without resistance. If it is still clogged, repeat the previous steps until it has cleared.
Call ABACUS Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical (713) 812-7070 for your home service and repair needs.
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