Garbage disposals are a huge time-saving addition to your kitchen and make cleaning up and doing the dishes much easier. However, like all other electric appliances, sometimes garbage disposals wear out, break, or need to be replaced. If your garbage disposal is not working, you can try a few troubleshooting steps as follows:
Determine if it powers on at all (when you flip the switch, does it make any sound at all?) If it makes a “hum” or “whir,” the motor is probably working but the “blades” may be stuck. To unjam a stuck garbage disposal, look under your sink for a 1/4″ allen wrench (odds are you already have one taped to your disposal—it usually looks like a letter “Z”). Insert the wrench into the lug in the bottom center of the disposal and wiggle it back and forth a few times. See if that helps. If not, you can try the next step.
If there doesn’t appear to be anything stuck in the blades, or if you don’t hear any sound at all when you flip the switch to turn it on, the unit might be having power issues. If that’s the case, make sure it’s plugged in. This might sound silly even to suggest because it’s so simple, but sometimes a garbage disposal can become accidentally unplugged. Look under your sink and make sure you can see that the cord is actually plugged into an outlet. If it is plugged in but still won’t turn on, try the next step.
Modern building codes require that outlets near a sink have a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter), which is a protective mechanism built in to prevent people from being electrocuted. While that’s a great safety feature, sometimes the GFCI will “trip,” making whatever is plugged into the outlet unable to turn on. If your garbage disposal won’t power at all, look at the outlet it’s plugged into and see if there are a red and black button in the middle: if so, press the red “reset” button and see if that solves the problem. If that doesn’t help, try the next step.
Some garbage disposals have a small, red reset button on the bottom of the unit that you can’t see unless you get down low and look up from underneath it. If your disposal still won’t turn on at all, try locating the reset button, then push it, and try turning it on again. If that still doesn’t work, perhaps it’s time to call an expert.
Alphalete Plumbing has been installing, replacing, and servicing garbage disposals for years, and we’re very fast at troubleshooting the issue and we can often perform a same-day install on a new unit if needed.
If your garbage disposal seems to be backing up, or won’t drain, even if it turns on and seems to be working fine, you might have a bigger issue with your plumbing, such as some pipes that are clogged deeper down in the system. If that’s the case, you’ll need some drain clearing help, which is also a service offered by Alphalete. Let us know how we can help you!
Alphalete Plumbing is a licensed and insured full-service plumbing contractor serving Colorado Springs and the surrounding areas. We install, service, repair and replace water heaters, toilets, sinks, boilers, water softeners, water purifying systems, and much more. We offer service in Colorado Springs, Monument, Peyton, Larkspur, Fountain, Pueblo, Woodland Park, and the greater Pikes Peak region.
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