You can unjam a garbage disposal yourself, without a master plumbing certification. Jammed garbage disposals can be quite a nuisance especially when they clog up your kitchen sink. The good news is that it is often a simple task to unjam the disposal.
As you can see from the image, a disposal will jam, or stop turning, when a foreign object such as a bone becomes caught up in the impeller blades.
You know your disposal is jammed if it makes a humming sound when the switch is turned on and it is not turning inside. If there is no sound when the switch is turned on, the unit probably became too hot and turned itself off.
Pressing the reset button on the bottom side of the disposal will restore power to the unit and it can be turned on again to see if it is still jammed.
If it is still jammed, you will need to use a tool in an effort to unjam it.
Note: never put your hand inside a garbage disposal and *always* turn the power off at the electrical panel while performing any repair work.
You can, however, insert a broom handle or similar object, and try to move the blades back and forth. Better yet, you can use a 1/4″ or 5/16″ Allen wrench. Simply insert the wrench from below and work it back and forth until it frees up. If it doesn’t free up, the disposal is bad and will need to be replaced.
For a short garbage disposal video provided by Ace Hardware, click here.
Remember: grease, oil, fat, fruit pits, seeds, bones, pasta, egg shells and stringy vegetables like celery can really do a number on your garbage disposal. Many of these types of items can be composted. Give composting a try! To get started, visit the Oregon Metro page to learn more.
For questions or to schedule a plumber to come out, please call…503-620-9111 for the West Side, including Beaverton, Lake Oswego, Tigard and Hillsboro, or call 503-253-0030 for East Side locations, including Gresham, Troutdale, West Linn and Clackamas.
Garbage Disposal Repair
Most garbage disposals are powered by a small electric motor. Impellers are attached to the motor which spins them at a high velocity, turning solid food into liquid (with the help of running water from your sink).
Although it may seem like your garbage disposal can “eat” anything, even the best disposal units can get indigestion from time to time! To keep your garbage disposal in top working condition and to prevent having a new garbage disposal installation, you should avoid feeding it items like:
- Grease, fats and oils
- Pulpy materials like paper or wood
- Large or hard food items
- Meat, skin, bones and lard
- Fibrous foods like celery and banana peels
- Apple seeds or peach pits
- Coconut shells and pineapple shoots
If your garbage disposal stops working correctly or starts making loud or unusual noises, don’t panic. Most disposal problems are minor and can be repaired quickly.
If you are in theBaltimore, Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, Delaware or the Philadelphia Area and have a problem with your garbage disposal, call one of our friendly customer service representatives today. We’ll help you get it fixed, fast.
How to Fix Minor Garbage Disposal Clogs
Not every garbage disposal jam requires a call to the plumber! If your disposal stops working, there are a few things you can try before you pick up the phone:
The bottom of your garbage disposal should have a RESET button. If the motor jams, turn the disposal off and wait a few minutes, then firmly press this button.
If this doesn’t work, check and see if your disposal can be unjammed from the bottom. There should be a small, hexagonal hole where an Allen key can fit – turning this will allow you to turn the flywheel and attempt to dislodge the clog.
If you still can’t get your disposal to work, or if the problem is a leak instead of a clog, don’t worry – just call Len The Plumber! We’ll be out that day to fix your garbage disposal as soon as possible.