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Garbage Disposal Repair: Troub Tips Before You Call the Professionals


The garbage disposal is one of the hardest working appliances in your kitchen. It grinds up the food you throw down the drain and keeps the sink from backing up. While garbage disposals are hardy, they are not infallible. If your garbage disposal is giving you trouble, here’s what to do before calling a plumber.

Disposal Won’t Turn On

If you flip the wall switch and the disposal doesn’t make a sound, there could be an electrical problem. Follow these troubleshooting tips:

  • Make sure the disposal is plugged in.
  • Press the reset button on the bottom of the disposal.
  • Check the breaker box and reset any tripped circuits.
  • Call a plumber for garbage disposal repair before you assume the unit is faulty and must be replaced.

Disposal Hums But Doesn’t Grind

If you flip the wall switch and the disposal hums faintly without functioning, debris may be jammed in the flywheel. Here’s how to fix the problem:

  • For your safety, flip the circuit breaker powering the garbage disposal. Test the wall switch to ensure the power is truly cut.
  • Insert an offset wrench into the flywheel-turning hole on the bottom of the disposal. Turn it clockwise to dislodge the jam. You should feel the flywheel turn freely once more.
  • Reset the breaker to restore power.
  • Press the reset button on the disposal.
  • Turn on the faucet and flip the wall switch on and off a few times. This runs the disposal in short bursts to help chop up the obstruction and wash it down the drain without causing another jam.

The Kitchen Sink Drains Slowly

Give the disposal enough time to clear the drain. If the sink is still backed up, the pipe is probably clogged further down. Never use chemical drain openers with a garbage disposal. Instead, try the following:

  • Remove the bolts connecting the disposal to the discharge pipe.
  • Check for obstructions within the discharge pipe.
  • If you don’t find anything, the clog could be deeper within the plumbing system. Contact a plumber for help.

Prevent the Need for Garbage Disposal Repair

To help keep your garbage disposal in prime condition, follow these tips:

  • Run cold water while grinding up food and for a few seconds after the disposal turns off.
  • Avoid overfilling the sink with bits of food.
  • Don’t grind up stringy, starchy vegetable peels.
  • Don’t dispose of coffee grounds, animal bones, or eggshells in the kitchen sink.
  • Don’t pour cooking grease down the drain. This hardens when it cools and can cause plumbing clogs.
  • Clean the disposal monthly by grinding up rock salt and a few ice cubes. If the disposal smells unpleasant, throw in a few lemon rinds or orange peels.

These troubleshooting tips and preventative actions should help you avoid problems with your garbage disposal. Still, if you ever require garbage disposal repair in Berkeley, please contact Albert Nahman Plumbing & Heating at (510) 876-9725 .


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