Garbage disposal is designed to make your life in the kitchen that much easier, but sometimes they can create problems if they are not functioning properly. This can be particularly frustrating if you’re hosting an event or if you have visitors in town, so it’s best to be prepared in case your garbage disposal stops working when you need it most. Here are some common problems and how to fix them so you’ll never have to worry about dealing with this issue again.

If you’re someone who loves to cook, then your most valuable tool in the kitchen is a working garbage disposal. Sure, there are certain foods that you can’t put into a garbage disposal (see: anything glass), but for the most part you’re going to be using it every time you cook. It makes cleaning up much faster and infinitely more pleasant. Garbage disposals are a wonderful thing in the kitchen, but they don’t come without their complications. Garbage disposals have been known to go wrong from time to time and there’s no reason you should have to deal with that when it happens. Here are some common problems associated with garbage disposals and how you can fix them yourself.

What to do When Your Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On

The garbage disposal is one of the most useful appliances in your kitchen, but when it won’t turn on, it can be frustrating to deal with. Whether your garbage disposal is jammed or otherwise damaged, there are plenty of things you can do to get it up and running again without having to call the plumber. Here are some tips for dealing with common disposal problems.

Problem #1

When a garbage disposal is jammed it might be possible to free it from whatever has caught inside by unscrewing a plate or flipping a switch. Otherwise, try dislodging whatever is blocking it by shaking a container of ice water around inside while turning on the disposal. If all else fails, try to remove whatever’s blocking your sink so that water can flow freely once more and relieve any pressure in the pipes behind your garbage disposal that might have been causing a jam in the first place.

Problem #2

The Garbage Disposal won’t turn on at all: You might have a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. If not, a broken disposal motor usually requires replacement. Here’s how to troubleshoot your garbage disposal so you can either get it working again or replace it without too much trouble. If your garbage disposal won’t turn on, there may be an issue with power to it. Check and make sure that you have power coming into your switchboard and that your disposal is plugged in and switched on.

Problem #3

The motor is humming but it’s not draining anything: You can clear a clogged drain simply by pouring a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down it. Wait for five minutes, then run some hot water. If that doesn’t work, try plunging something down there–the aforementioned apple corer works great–and hope you don’t hit any pipes or wires.

The disposal doesn’t turn on at all. The first step is determining whether you have a damaged disposal or a blown circuit breaker. Try turning off and then on any other switches in your kitchen, such as other appliance controls or light switches that may also share a circuit with your garbage disposal switch. If not, your disposal likely has an internal breaker that needs to be reset before you can try fixing anything else.

Problem #4

The disposal doesn’t turn on or makes a strange noise. If your garbage disposal won’t start, make sure that: (1) it’s plugged in; and (2) you hear water running when you flip the switch. If nothing happens when you flip the switch, force power into the unit by turning off your breaker and removing a fuse or contactor plate (if there is one). Then wait about 15 seconds before flipping any breakers back on.

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