Tips on Garbage Disposal Repair and Installation

Another tip is that it is not a good idea to try to put too many large pieces of food through the disposal. I’ve seen garbage disposal clogs caused by someone trying to grind big pieces of Great Livings ultimate guide. All of the drain piping under the sink was full of grated carrot.

Asking For Problems

It is certainly tempting to just dump everything into the big hole in the sink and flip the switch, but that is asking for trouble. I actually know of one situation where a guy was dropping eggshells down his disposal. He must have eaten a lot of eggs because the crushed up shells coated the inside of his kitchen drain pipe and finally stopped it up entirely. The entire drain pipe wound up having to be replaced.

Put The Big Chunks Somewhere Else

Hopefully that story shows how important it is to be careful how you use your garbage disposal. Put bigger scraps and trimmings in either the trash or a compost pile and use the disposal for the small stuff that would otherwise get rinsed down the drain. Your drain pipes will be better for it.

Garbage Disposal Clogs

Sometimes even if you have followed all of these guidelines the garbage disposal clogs up anyway. No problem, it’s pretty simple to learn how to unclog a garbage disposal. There are just a couple of basic steps to follow.

Does The Motor Need To Be Reset?

First, find out if the motor is jammed. If you flip the switch and the disposal just hums, it is most likely locked up. If the power stays on to the disposal this usually results in the motor cutting off, so lots of garbage disposals have a reset button (usually on the bottom). Turn the switch off, wait a few seconds and push the reset button.

Find For The Wrench Hole

The next step is to unjam the disposal. Most garbage disposals have an opening in the bottom that allows you to insert an “Allen Wrench” into the bottom of the shaft and manually turn the shaft to free it up. Sometimes the wrench is included with the disposal. If not a standard “Allen” wrench will get the job done.

How To Unclog A Garbage Disposal With A Wrench

Make sure the power switch is off before going to the next step! If you’re not sure, or if you have an air switch, turn off the breaker serving the disposal. Turn the faucet on and stick the wrench into the bottom of the shaft. The opening for this should be in the middle of the bottom of the garbage disposal. Now turn the wrench back and forth a couple of times until you can turn the wrench all the way around freely.

The Broomstick Method

If your disposal has no hole for a wrench at the bottom you can always try using a broomstick. Take about a 2 foot long piece of broom stick, stick it in the top of the disposal and pretend you are stirring a big pot of stew while bearing down on the stick. While not nearly as effective as the wrench method, on some models it’s your only choice.

I Thought I Left My Rings On The Counter

Once you’ve got the shaft turning, turn the switch back on. The disposal should drain now. If not, or if you weren’t able to get the shaft unstuck, there may be something (hopefully not an expensive ring) causing the jam. Making sure the switch is off, look down inside the disposal. It will probably help to use a flashlight. If you can see anything inside, try to get it out with a pair of needle nose pliers.

The Last Option

If you can tell there is something inside but it won’t come out with the pliers it may require removing the disposal. If the shaft won’t turn at all, then the next step is learning how to unclog a garbage disposal.

Removing A Garbage Disposal

The key to removing a garbage disposal is to not get in too big a hurry. The drain connection usually attaches to the disposal with a clamp that just needs to be unfastened, so take this apart first. If the sink bowl is backed up and full of water make sure you have a bowl ready to catch the water.

Disconnect The Garbage Disposal From The Sink

Once the drain is disconnected remove the mounting assembly that connects the disposal to the sink. This will be either a big nut, a bracket held in place with screws or, on Insinkerator disposals, a clamp ring that twists down. Once you have this loose you should be able to remove the disposal from the sink, take the rubber splash shield off and peek inside.

Remove The Foreign Object And Reassemble Everything

Now you can get whatever is jamming the blades out and then, before you put everything back together, turn the switch on for a minute and make sure the blade spins now. If it spins freely now, put it all back together. Be careful and get all of the gaskets back where they go and then test everything for leaks. Try the switch a few times to make sure it works and put everything back in the cabinet.

 

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