Why Isn’t My Garbage Disposal Working?: 4 Common Causes (and How to Get It Fixed Fast!)

why isn't my garbage disposal working

Have you ever been in the middle of cooking a large meal when suddenly you realize that your sink is filled with water and food scraps? Your preparations come to a standstill. And the only thing you can do is stare at the full sink and wonder, “Why isn’t my garbage disposal working?”

What are you going to do?

Not to worry. Most problems with garbage disposals are usually quite easy to identify and fix. While there are some situations that call for a professional plumber there are a few things you can attempt yourself first.

Here is a list of the four most common issues that happen and how you can fix them.

I Can Hear the Disposal Humming, But It’s Not Grinding

If the garbage disposal makes a humming noise but none of the blades are spinning or grinding food, then likely the inner flywheel jammed. When this happens, turn off and unplug the disposal. Look to see if there’s anything stuck inside.

Your first instinct may be to stick your hand into the disposal, but don’t. You should never put your hand down into the disposal. Using tongs try to remove the blockage and clear the disposal. Then gently push and rotate the blades.

If the disposal still does not run, stick a ¼” Allen wrench into the hole on the underside of the disposal. Turn the Allen wrench to rotate the flywheel inside.

My Disposal Is Draining Very Slowly

If a broken garbage disposal is draining slowly that usually means there is a clog somewhere in the pipe. The best way to clear a clogged pipe is to disassemble the drain trap and remove any food that is stuck inside.

I Don’t Hear Any Noise When I Turn the Disposal On

If you don’t even hear a hum when you flip the switch, then there could be an electrical problem. Either the disposal has overheated and turned itself off or the circuit breaker has tripped.

First, make sure the disposal is not unplugged. Then, look underneath the unit for the “reset” button and press it in. If resetting the disposal button doesn’t work, then check the circuit breaker for that outlet.

I Don’t Know Why Isn’t My Garbage Disposal Working

If none of the options above fix your garbage disposal, then it’s possible the disposal motor needs to be repaired or even replaced. Depending on how old your garbage disposal is, it may still be under a manufacturer’s warranty.

Although garbage disposals aren’t too expensive, they can be a little tricky to install. It’s often best to call your local garbage disposal repair services to put in your new one. 

Getting Everything Back to Working Order

The next time you find yourself asking “why isn’t my garbage disposal working” don’t panic. It doesn’t automatically mean you need a garbage disposal repair or replacement. You have a few options to try yourself to get things working again.

And if you do need a professional, contact us to learn more about the services we offer. 

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