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How To Fix Garbage Disposal

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Hey there, folks! If you’re reading this article, chances are that your garbage disposal is giving you a hard time. Don’t worry though; as a plumbing technician, I’ve seen my fair share of jammed and broken disposals. With some proper guidance and a little bit of elbow grease, we can fix your disposal in no time!

First things first: let’s talk about why your disposal might be acting up. Often times, the problem lies in what you put down the drain. Grease, bones, potato peels – these items don’t belong in a garbage disposal and can cause it to malfunction.

Additionally, lack of maintenance or improper use can also lead to issues with your unit. But fear not! We’ll go over all the common problems and solutions so that you too can become an expert on fixing garbage disposals.

Common Signs Your Garbage Disposal Needs Fixing

As a plumbing technician, I’ve seen my fair share of malfunctioning garbage disposals. Oftentimes, homeowners don’t even realize their disposal is in need of fixing until it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to identify the signs early on before the problem gets worse.

One common sign that your garbage disposal needs fixing is if it’s making strange noises when turned on. If you hear grinding or rattling sounds coming from your unit, this may indicate that there’s something stuck inside.

Another red flag to look out for is slow draining water. This could mean that there’s a clog somewhere within the system.

If you’re experiencing any of these issues, don’t panic just yet! Troubleshooting garbage disposal issues can be done with some basic knowledge and tools. Before reaching for the phone to call an expensive repairman, try resetting the unit by pressing the reset button located on the bottom of most models.

If this doesn’t work, check for any visible blockages and remove them carefully using pliers or tongs. Remember to always turn off power to the unit before attempting any repairs!

To fix your garbage disposal properly, you’ll need a few essential tools at your disposal (pun intended). But more on that later – let’s first take a closer look at how to diagnose what might be wrong with your unit.

Tools You’ll Need For The Job

Now that you know the common signs your garbage disposal needs fixing, let’s move on to the next step: gathering the necessary tools.

In order to fix a garbage disposal, you must have tools such as pliers, an Allen wrench, and a screwdriver. These can be found at most hardware stores or online retailers like Home Depot or Amazon.

Once you’ve acquired these must-have tools, it’s important to keep them in good condition for future use. A simple tip for tool maintenance is to clean them after every use with a dry cloth and store them in a safe place away from moisture. This will ensure they last longer and are ready when you need them.

In summary, having the right tools and properly maintaining them are crucial steps towards successfully fixing your garbage disposal.

Now that we’ve covered this section, let’s move onto safety precautions to take before starting the repair process.

Safety Precautions To Take Before Starting

Before starting any repair work on your garbage disposal, it is important to take certain safety precautions. Goggles and gloves are essential for protecting yourself from flying debris or sharp edges that may cause injury during the repair process. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when working with heavy machinery like a garbage disposal.

Another crucial step in ensuring your safety while fixing your garbage disposal is properly shutting off the power supply before beginning repairs. This can easily be done by locating the circuit breaker switch that powers your kitchen and turning it off. Always double-check to make sure the power has been shut off completely before proceeding with any repairs.

By taking these necessary safety precautions, you can ensure that you will have a successful repair experience without any mishaps.

In the next section, we’ll cover how to properly turn off your disposal so that you can get started on fixing it as soon as possible!

How To Properly Turn Off Your Disposal

To properly turn off your garbage disposal, it is important to take a few precautions. First and foremost, ensure that you have turned off the power supply running to the unit. This will prevent any potential electrical hazards from occurring while working on it.

It’s also worth noting that if you’re not confident in how to do this, call a professional plumber.

After disconnecting the power supply, make sure to disable the switch controlling the disposal as well. This may be located near your sink or on a separate panel altogether depending on your home setup. If you can’t find such a switch, then simply unplug the disposal from its power source entirely.

These steps are crucial for preventing electrical hazards when working with your garbage disposal. By following them closely, you’ll be able to safely proceed onto clearing out any jams in your system without worrying about accidentally electrocuting yourself!

Clearing A Jammed Disposal

Now that you have successfully turned off your disposal, it’s time to move on to the next step: clearing a jammed disposal. If your garbage disposal is not working properly or making strange noises, there may be something stuck in it causing the issue.

The first thing you should do is unplug the disposal from its power source. Never stick your hand down into the disposal while it is plugged in!

Next, take a flashlight and look down into the drain opening. You may be able to see what is causing the problem. If you can’t see anything obvious, use tongs or pliers to try dislodging any debris that may be obstructing the blades.

If this still doesn’t fix the issue, then it’s time to lubricate the blades. Use a wrench to loosen any bolts holding the blades in place (make sure they are unplugged first). Once loose, spray some cooking oil onto them and tighten everything back up again. This should help get your disposal running smoothly once more.

Fixing A Leaky Disposal

If you find that your garbage disposal is leaking, don’t fret. It’s a common issue that can be solved with some simple techniques. Here are some possible solutions to fix a leaky disposal:

  • Tighten the connections: Check for any loose screws or bolts and tighten them up if needed.
  • Replace the gasket: The rubber gasket between the sink flange and the disposal may have worn out over time, causing leaks.
  • Clean the unit thoroughly: Sometimes, food particles or debris can get stuck in the disposal causing blockages which lead to leaks.

Prevention is key when it comes to dealing with a leaky garbage disposal. Here are some prevention techniques you should keep in mind:

  • Don’t overload the disposal: Only put small amounts of food waste into the disposal at a time. Avoid putting fibrous foods like celery stalks or potato peels as they can clog up your system.
  • Use cold water while running your disposer: This helps solidify fats, making it easier for them to break down before being washed away.
  • Regular maintenance checks: Inspect pipes and connections regularly and replace parts as necessary.

By following these steps and taking preventative measures, you can save yourself from future headaches caused by leaks.

In case tightening connections or replacing a worn-out gasket doesn’t solve your problem, then it might be time to consider replacing your old unit altogether!

Replacing A Worn Out Gasket

If you’ve successfully fixed your leaky disposal, congratulations! Now it’s time to tackle the next issue that may arise: a worn out gasket. The gasket is an important component of your garbage disposal unit as it ensures that water and food particles don’t leak out from where the unit attaches to the sink. Over time, however, this rubber seal can wear down or break apart, leading to leaks.

When faced with a worn out gasket, there are two main options available for repair: DIY or professional. If you’re confident in your plumbing skills and have experience working on garbage disposals, then replacing the gasket yourself might be a feasible option. However, if you’re unsure about what you’re doing or simply don’t want to risk causing further damage to your unit, it’s best to call in a professional plumber.

There are various alternatives when it comes to replacement gaskets including foam and silicone varieties. While these materials can work just fine, they may not last as long as traditional rubber ones. Ultimately, the choice of which type of gasket replacement material is up to personal preference and budget constraints. Whatever decision is made though, remember that proper installation is crucial for preventing future leaks and ensuring optimal performance from your garbage disposal unit.

Moving forward into dealing with a clogged drain requires some basic steps but can still pose challenges even for experienced plumbers. Don’t worry though – we’ll go through everything step-by-step so you can get back to enjoying fully functional kitchen appliances in no time!

Dealing With A Clogged Drain

When dealing with a clogged drain, it’s important to first identify the cause of the problem. Common culprits include hair, soap scum, food particles, and grease buildup.

Unclogging techniques can vary depending on the type of blockage and severity of the issue. One simple solution is to use DIY drain cleaning products such as baking soda and vinegar or a mixture of hot water and salt. These methods are effective for minor clogs but may not work for more severe cases. For tougher blockages, using a plunger or plumbing snake may be necessary.

It’s important to note that harsh chemicals should be avoided when attempting to unclog drains as they can damage pipes over time. Regular maintenance such as pouring boiling water down drains once a week and avoiding putting large objects or non-degradable materials into them can prevent future clogs from occurring.

Moving forward, proper disposal maintenance is key in preventing further drainage issues. Here are some tips to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly:

  • Run cold water for 10-15 seconds before and after using the disposal to help flush away any remaining food scraps.

Tips For Proper Disposal Maintenance

So you’ve fixed your garbage disposal, but how can you prevent it from breaking down again in the future? As a plumbing technician, I suggest taking preventative measures to ensure that your disposal stays in tip-top shape.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to maintain your disposal is by regularly cleaning it. Cleaning methods vary depending on what works best for you. Some people prefer using baking soda and vinegar while others use lemon peels or ice cubes. No matter which method you choose, make sure to run cold water before and after using your disposal as this helps flush out any debris stuck inside.

In addition to regular cleaning, there are several preventative measures you can take to prolong the life of your garbage disposal. Avoid putting fibrous foods like celery or corn husks into your disposal as these can get tangled around the blades causing damage. You should also avoid pouring grease or oil down the drain as they congeal and could clog up pipes over time.

Now that you know some tips for proper disposal maintenance let’s move onto how to clean your disposal properly.

How To Clean Your Disposal

When it comes to maintaining your garbage disposal, cleaning is a crucial step that you shouldn’t skip. Not only does regular DIY cleaning prevent unpleasant odors from emanating in your kitchen but it also helps prolong the lifespan of your unit.

Fortunately, there are several effective solutions available for homeowners who want to keep their disposals clean and running smoothly.

One easy way to clean your disposal is by using ice cubes and rock salt. Simply put some ice cubes into the disposal then turn on the water while grinding them up. Afterward, pour some rock salt down the drain and repeat the process again with more ice cubes until all of the residue has been removed.

Another great option is to use vinegar and baking soda. Pour half a cup of baking soda followed by one cup of white vinegar down the drain then let it sit for about 10 minutes before flushing it out with hot water.

If you’re dealing with stubborn grime or clogs, you can try using dish soap or lemon peels instead. Just fill up your sink with warm soapy water then turn on the disposal while allowing the mixture to flush through the system thoroughly. Alternatively, grind up some lemon peels after washing them beforehand which will not only help remove any unwanted smells but also act as an abrasive cleaner against leftover debris inside.

Remember, these DIY cleaning tips should be done regularly at least once every week or two depending on how often you use your garbage disposal.

However, if despite following these steps carefully, you still experience issues such as leaks or strange noises coming from within, this might indicate a bigger problem than what simple maintenance can fix alone. In such cases, don’t hesitate to call a professional plumber right away before things get worse!

When To Call A Professional

While it’s important for homeowners to take on DIY troubleshooting techniques, there are certain situations that require the expertise of a professional plumber. If you’ve tried all the usual methods and your garbage disposal still isn’t working correctly, then it may be time to call in an expert.

Trying to fix a complex issue without proper knowledge can lead to even bigger problems down the line. For instance, if you’re not careful when dismantling your garbage disposal or tamper with electrical wires, you could cause injury or damage your home’s plumbing system. In these circumstances, calling a professional is always recommended.

Additionally, if you notice unusual noises coming from your garbage disposal or detect foul odors despite cleaning it thoroughly, then this could indicate underlying issues that only a professional can diagnose and repair. When faced with these types of challenges, don’t hesitate to reach out to experienced plumbers who have both the skills and tools necessary to tackle any problem they encounter.

By following these guidelines and knowing when to seek help from professionals, you’ll save yourself time and money while keeping potential safety hazards at bay.

Now let’s move onto preventing future problems with your garbage disposal by taking some simple steps that will keep it running smoothly for years to come.

Preventing Future Problems With Your Garbage Disposal

As I mentioned earlier, there are certain situations where it’s best to call in a professional to fix your garbage disposal. However, if you’re feeling confident and want to tackle the issue yourself, here are some tips for fixing it.

Firstly, make sure that the power is turned off before attempting any repairs. This can be done by unplugging the unit or turning off the circuit breaker.

Next, check if something has jammed the blades of the disposal. Use tongs or pliers to remove any foreign objects such as bones or utensils from inside the unit.

If these steps don’t solve the problem, you may need to replace parts like the flywheel or motor. It’s important to remember that while DIY fixes can save money in the short term, preventative measures and long-term solutions should be considered for avoiding future problems with your garbage disposal.

Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent clogs and extend the life of your disposal. Avoid putting fibrous materials like celery or potato skins down the drain, as well as fats and oils which solidify when cooled. Running cold water during use will also help keep food particles moving through your pipes smoothly.

Remembering these simple tips can go a long way in preventing issues with your garbage disposal. As always, if you’re unsure about anything related to plumbing repairs, it’s best to consult with a professional technician who can provide expert guidance on maintaining this essential kitchen appliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know If My Garbage Disposal Is Under Warranty?

As a plumbing technician, it’s important to know how to check if your garbage disposal is still under warranty.

The first step is to locate the warranty information and proof of purchase. This will help you determine whether or not your unit is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

If you can’t find this information, don’t worry! You can always contact the manufacturer directly to ask for assistance in finding out if your product is still covered.

Remember that being a part of our community means taking care of each other, so don’t hesitate to reach out for help when needed.

Can I Fix My Garbage Disposal If I Have No Plumbing Experience?

As a plumbing technician, I know that DIY repair can be intimidating for those with no experience. However, there are some troubleshooting tips you can try before calling in the professionals.

First off, make sure to turn off power to your garbage disposal unit and unplug it from the outlet. From there, use a flashlight to inspect the inside of the unit for any visible blockages or damage.

If you notice something out of place, gently remove it using pliers or tongs. If all looks well but your disposal still isn’t working properly, it may be time to call in an expert.

Remember, even if you have no plumbing experience, taking small steps towards fixing your own appliances can give you a sense of belonging and accomplishment in your home maintenance efforts.

Is It Safe To Put Certain Types Of Food Waste Down The Disposal?

As a plumbing technician, I often receive questions about food waste safety and proper disposal techniques for garbage disposals.

It’s important to remember that not all types of food waste should be put down the disposal. Grease, bones, and fibrous foods like celery or corn husks can cause clogs and damage to your unit.

Instead, stick to soft scraps like fruit peels or cooked vegetables. And always run water while the disposal is in use to ensure everything gets properly flushed out.

By following these guidelines, you’ll help keep your kitchen clean and functional while avoiding any unnecessary problems with your garbage disposal.

Can I Use Chemical Drain Cleaners With My Garbage Disposal?

Hey there, folks! As a plumbing technician, I’ve seen my fair share of clogged garbage disposals.

When it comes to chemical drain cleaners and your disposal, let me tell you – it’s not the best idea. While these products may seem like an easy fix, they can actually cause more harm than good.

Not only are they harmful to the environment, but they can also corrode your pipes over time. Instead of relying on chemicals, try using alternatives such as baking soda and vinegar or a plunger.

And remember to always take precautions with your garbage disposal – avoid putting fibrous foods down the drain and never pour grease or oil down there either.

Happy disposing!

What Can I Do If My Garbage Disposal Is Making A Loud Noise?

If you’re hearing a loud noise coming from your garbage disposal, there are a few common causes that could be contributing to the problem.

One possible issue is that there may be something stuck in the blades of the disposal, causing it to work harder than usual and produce more noise.

Another potential cause is worn out or damaged components within the unit itself, such as bearings or flywheels.

To reduce noise and possibly fix these issues, it’s best to call in a professional plumbing technician who can diagnose and repair the problem for you.

Don’t worry – our team has seen it all before and we’ll make sure to get your garbage disposal running smoothly again in no time!


In conclusion, fixing a garbage disposal can be a daunting task for homeowners. However, with the right information and tools, it is possible to fix minor issues without calling in a professional plumber.

It’s important to first check if your garbage disposal is covered under warranty before attempting any repairs. If you have no plumbing experience, there are still simple fixes such as resetting the disposal or checking for jammed blades.

It’s also important to make sure that only appropriate food waste is put down the disposal and avoid using chemical drain cleaners which can damage the unit.

Lastly, if your garbage disposal is making loud noises, it could be a sign of a serious issue that requires professional attention. As a plumbing technician, I always recommend taking proper precautions when working on any home appliance and if in doubt, call in an expert for assistance.

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