Garbage Disposal Troubleshooting Tips From Our Master Plumber

Garbage disposals are handy appliances, but just like any other household hardware, it has a tendency to cause trouble from time to time. Today our master plumber will provide you with some garbage disposal troubleshooting tips to help you deal with issues next time they crop up.

Before You Start Fixing Your Garbage Disposal

First and foremost, we want you to promise to never, ever put your hand into the hopper. Putting your hand down the drain and into the disposal is extremely dangerous. If there is a malfunction, you could easily lose a finger or a whole hand.

Got that? Great! Now let's start fixing your garbage disposal.

Garbage Disposal

Garbage Disposal Issue #1: The Disposal Doesn't Turn On

Symptoms - Your garbage disposal unit is turned on by the plug, but there's no humming sound and you don't see that it is working.

If your garbage disposal is turned on and plugged in, you could try pressing the Reset button (located at the bottom of the unit).

If resetting doesn't work, check the service panel to see if it has been turned off or if a circuit breaker has tripped.

If it still doesn't work, the fault could lie with a faulty unit or a faulty switch. You need to find the switch that powers the unit and test it.


Garbage Disposal Issue #2: The Unit Makes a Loud Humming Noise, But It Doesn't Turn

Symptoms - If your unit is on and making a noise, but it doesn't turn, it could be because the flywheel is stuck.

If your disposal unit doesn't turn, and it is making a humming noise, rest assured it will not do that for long. However, it may burn out. This usually means the flywheel is stuck. The reset button or the fuse on the circuit breaker on your service panel will turn the unit off. Flywheels get stuck when something becomes lodged between the shredder ring and one or more impellers.

Turn the power to the disposal unit off at your service panel and insert an offset wrench (which came with the unit) into the flywheel's turning hole. Turn the wrench clockwise to help dislodge the flywheel's stuck impeller. You will feel that the flywheel turns freely when it becomes dislodged.

You can also use a broom-handle to free the stuck impeller from the top of the unit via the drain by placing the broom-handle through the drain and into the hopper towards the impeller.


Garbage Disposal Issue #3: Garbage Disposal Unit is Leaking

Symptoms - Leaks can occur in various places on your garbage disposal unit. We'll look at some.

At the Sink Flange: Turn off the power at your service panel and turn the disposal unit counter-clockwise from below to loosen it from the flange.

If the mounting bolts seem loose, loosen them before pushing the sink flange slightly above the sink surface. Place plumbers putty in between the sink and the flange. Tighten the bolts again until you see the putty ooze out and reinstall the garbage disposal.

At the Dishwasher Connection: If the hose is leaking, you will have to replace it. Alternatively, tighten and claim the hope that is connected to the inlet of the dishwasher into the disposer to stop it from leaking. Also, check the bolts that connect the discharge pipe to the garbage disposal. If it is still leaking, reinstall the bolts and tighten them.

This tutorial should help you repair the most common garbage disposal problems. If you're unsure of something, contact your Toronto plumber, who is experienced and skilled at fixing all models of garbage disposals, and related plumbing or electrical issues.

Written by Tanya Klien

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