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Oct 25,2023

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal will shred food waste into small particles, which can then be washed away with water through the plumbing system. This helps to reduce the amount of food waste that goes into the trash, and consequently leads to less methane from landfills. However, garbage disposals are prone to breaking down. In this brief article brought to you by Mr. Rooter Plumbing, we’ll share some tips on how to fix a garbage disposal.

If you’d rather have a uniformed plumber handle the garbage disposal repair, then call Mr. Rooter Plumbing to book an appointment today. We’re also happy to arrange an emergency plumbing service or repair for as soon as possible.

Most Vulnerable Components

Several components in a garbage disposal can be vulnerable to defects, damage, or malfunction, depending on factors such as the quality of the unit, usage, and maintenance. The components most associated with issues include:

  • Impeller or Grinding Ring: Responsible for grinding food waste, these can become dull or damaged.
  • Motor: The motor can malfunction due to overuse, overheating, electrical problems, or mechanical issues.
  • Splash Guard: Made of rubber or plastic, a worn splash guard may allow water and food particles to escape from the disposal, leading to leaks or foul odors.
  • Drain Pipe: Can become clogged or damaged
  • Reset Button: Can trip in response to overloads or overheating.

It's essential to note that regular maintenance and proper usage can significantly extend the lifespan of a garbage disposal and reduce the risk of defects or malfunctions. Still, problems arise and it’s good to know how to troubleshoot a malfunctioning garbage disposal.

Steps to Fixing a Garbage Disposal

Fixing a garbage disposal depends on the nature of the problem, so let’s troubleshoot and address the issue you’re having. Before attempting any repairs, make sure the power to the disposal is turned off. If the disposal is not working at all, check if it has tripped a circuit. Press the reset button on the bottom of the garbage disposal to reset the motor. If it trips repeatedly, it could be a sign of an underlying issue.

If the disposal is jammed and makes a humming noise when you turn it on, then turn off the power and use an Allen wrench to manually rotate the disposal's grinding plates. Insert the wrench into the hole at the bottom of the unit and turn it clockwise and counterclockwise to dislodge the jammed object.

If you notice water leaking from the disposal or the drain pipe connections, tighten the mounting bolts and pipe connections. If there are cracks or other damage, you may need to replace the parts.

Sometimes, blockages in the drain pipe or disposal chamber can impede the flow of water and food waste. Disconnect the drain pipe and visually inspect it for clogs. Clear any debris or obstructions.

Hire a Trained Plumber

If you are uncomfortable with any of these steps or if you are unable to diagnose and fix the issue, it's advisable to seek the assistance of an experienced plumber. Call Mr. Rooter Plumbing to hire a uniformed plumber today.

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