DIY Repair: 4 Things To Check Before Replacing Your Garbage Disposal

I thought my Sunday afternoon would be spent replacing my garbage disposal. It had stopped working the day before after washing some food scraps down the drain and turning it on. It made a funny noise, and after turning it off and back on, it ceased to make any noise at all. I figured the motor had burnt out, and that my wallet was about to be burnt to the tune of $80.

Garbage Disposal Troubleshooting

I mentioned my situation to my neighbor, who gave me a few suggestions to try before heading to the hardware store to buy a new garbage disposal:

  • Look for blockages: Remove the rubber drain cover and look for anything that may be preventing the disposal from rotating. If you see something, unplug the unit before attempting to remove the blockage.
  • Check circuit breaker: Anytime a product plugged into an outlet stops working, check the GFI status on the outlet, or the circuit breaker in the breaker box. If either has tripped, reset them and try to operate the unit again.
  • Reset internal fuse: Some disposals have an internal fuse that can trip and disable the unit. Disposals with an internal fuse can be reset via a button on the side.
  • Manually rotate: In some cases, it’s difficult to remove whatever is preventing the disposal from rotating. Some disposals have a way to manually rotate the gears by using an Alan wrench. Others, you may have to find something sturdy, like a plunger handle, to press against one of the teeth of the unit and attempt to rotate the gears. If you’re successful, you maybe then be able to dislodge whatever is preventing the unit from operating.

You may also consider checking the disposal’s manual for additional troubleshooting tips. If none of these actions make the disposal operational again, then it’s time to replace the unit.

In my case, I had to reset the internal fuse, and force the unit to rotate using a plunger handle. After performing these two actions, and I removed some hard pieces of food that were preventing the unit from rotating, the disposal worked perfectly again.

While garbage disposals do eventually wear out, several things can cause them to appear to be completely broken, when in fact they are just fine. Follow the checklist above to determine if you need to drop cash on a new disposal or not.

How about you, EOD Nation, have you ever replaced your garbage disposal? Are you absolutely sure it was broken?

About Travis

One Response to “DIY Repair: 4 Things To Check Before Replacing Your Garbage Disposal”

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  1. Sassy Mamaw says:

    Great advice as always, Travis! We had an issue with our refrigerator a couple years ago. It just stopped cold one day. It turned out to be the motor, and as I recall, it was about $50 to replace it. My hub was able to replace it before the food even had a chance to get warm. You can save a lot of money by troubleshooting your own appliances.

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