Friday, September 9, 2016

Why did my garbage disposal stop working?

Garbage disposals are extremely helpful in today’s kitchens and are used to chop almost all food scraps in the sink drain, which makes cleaning the kitchen a lot easier.  The garbage disposal’s job is to chop, dice, and cut food into small enough pieces for the food scraps to fit through the plumbing.  If your garbage disposal stops working and you don’t know where to start, below are some common reasons that garbage disposals stop working and how to fix the problem.   

Jammed Garbage Disposal

A jammed garbage disposal may occur when something has been put in the disposal that is unable to be chopped up and flushed away.  If this happens, the motor of the garbage disposal will hum but the blades will not continue to spin.  First, make sure that the power is turned off to prevent any damage to the disposal motor.  Once you are sure that the main power source is also disconnected from the garbage disposal, you can use a tool or utensil, such as a wrench, in order to remove the foreign object that caused the disposal to jam. 

Reset Button

Sometimes the garbage disposal may become overloaded from food scraps and simply stop working.  Look beneath the sink at the disposal unit and press the small red reset button.  Most of the time pressing the reset button will make your garbage disposal start work again, but if your disposal does not begin to work after pressing this button, this may indicate a much greater problem with your disposal’s motor. 

Clogged Pipes

Certain hard or coarse food scraps are not meant for the disposal and may get lodged in the disposal if they enter, causing the pipes to become clogged.  The pipes can also become clogged if you do not use enough water to flush the food down when operating the disposal.  If you experience a clog in your garbage disposal, the clog would most likely be in the p-trap under your sink.  After putting a bucket beneath the trap, to fix the disposal you can separate the pipes in order to remove the waste using an auger or other unclogging device. 


If you cannot get your garbage disposal to function at all, then it is possible that there is a lack of power.  First, check that your disposal is connected to an outlet and that the circuit breaker is in the “on” position.  If after completing these actions your disposal still will not work and a tripped breaker switch is not causing the problem, it will be necessary to hire an electrician in order to access the situation since there is most likely a motor or wiring issue with your garbage disposal.