Garbage Disposal Repair by a professional plumber

Common Garbage Disposal Problems and Solutions

Big B's Plumbing - Your Plumber for Life!

Our garbage disposal is as standard in a modern home as any other appliance. Most homeowners take them for granted until they stop working, then they realize just how indispensable they are. You could probably even say garbage disposal’s add to our quality of life. Their average life expectancy is 13 years. If your garbage disposal is close to that, you should consider replacing it before it breaks when you least expect it. New innovative garbage disposal technologies are putting our current disposals to shame. Additionally, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to enjoy the benefits of a new garbage disposal. If your disposal is making a strange sound, leaking, or smoke is coming from it, then it’s time to replace it.

A Jammed Garbage Disposal Is Not Uncommon

If you turn your garbage disposal on and you only hear a humming sound coming from it, there is probably an object jammed in it. Sometimes everyday items can make their way into your disposal, causing it to jam such as bones, bottle cap, utensil, nail, or any other household item. Your garbage disposal does not have blades; they have impellers that grind or shred food scraps. The object gets lodged in the disposal, jamming the grinding table. As soon as you hear the humming sound, immediately turn the unit off. If left on for any length of time, it could fry the motor. A jammed disposal is not uncommon, and the average adult person living in the home could fix it.

How To Get Your Garbage Disposal Moving Freely

Once the unit is off, it is safest to unplug the unit before inspecting it. You can see whatever is jamming the unit by peering inside the unit using a flashlight. If you spot the object, use a pair of tongs to pull it out. If it’s still lodged, use a pair of channel locks or pliers to pull the item out. It’s never good practice to put your hand down a garbage disposal. If you cannot see the object, then it may just be clogged up with food waste or even a small bone that’s lodged. Whatever the case, you’ll need to get the disposal moving freely again. One way is to use a wooden handle from a broom or plunger, put it directly down the sink and use some leverage to move the impellers back and forth. 

There are Tools Designed To Get Your Garbage Disposal Moving Again

There are tools on the market designed to unjam your units, such as a garbage disposal wrench and a jam buster wrench for those who have insinkerators. Both tools cost less than eight dollars. Apparently, manufacturers foresaw disposal jamming and designed them with a slot that precisely fits the jam buster wrench at the bottom. Insert the wrench and move it back and forth. The garbage disposal wrench is inserted down the appliance from the top, and you turn it back and forth until it moves freely. 

You May Need To Reset Your Unit

Once everything is moving, you may need to reset the unit. There is a red reset button at the bottom of your disposal. First, make sure the disposal switch is in the ‘off’ position then gently push the red button to reset. Turn on the unit while cold water is flowing. If the button does not stay in, try again in ten minutes. If the reset button continues to trip, you may need to replace the disposal. 

Most Leaking Garbage Disposals Need Replacing

Why is my garbage disposal leaking? Most garbage disposals connect to the sink by sitting on a bead of plumber’s putty. If the plumber’s putty did not get applied correctly in the original installation or the seal may have loosened over time, causing water to leak from the sink. The fix is simple. Remove the disposal and correctly reinstall using the correct amount of plumber’s putty. If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer and your disposal is old, consider replacing it. When the unit leaks from the bottom, chances are the internal seals have worn out. In this instance, the best fix is a new garbage disposal. Big B’s Plumbing License #986152

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Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

2 thoughts on “Common Garbage Disposal Problems and Solutions”

  1. Its great when you said that the average life expectancy of a garbage disposal is 13 years. I want to get a residential dumpster to dispose the garbage in my house. Thanks for the information on garbage disposal problems and I hope that I can get some garbage disposal installation for my house soon!

  2. How interesting that you mention the tools that can help you with your garbage disposal. I am moving this month and I have a lot I\’m getting rid of. I will find a great front-load bin garbage disposal service in the area to help.

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