Garbage Disposal Not Working – How to fix it?

When you suddenly discover that your garbage disposal is not working any more, the whole situation can become a real kitchen nightmare, or a shock for your wallet because your disposal might need to be repaired by a professional, or replaced completely.

Here’s a list of the most common problems when it comes to garbage disposals. But be aware that if your unit still has a warranty coverage, you shouldn’t try to fix it by yourself because you might terminate the warranty!

Common garbage disposal problems


Garbage disposal is not working when turned on

This is probably the most common problem of garbage disposal units – not being able to turn them on. But don’t worry because this doesn’t necessarily mean that your unit is malfunctioning or that it needs to be replaced.

The first thing you should do is check out the power source. Look at the bottom of the unit and look for a reset button. Press on it and the problem should be solved. When the garbage disposal grinds through stubborn food waste, it might get overheated and the overheating may cause the fuse to pop out. Resetting the unit should solve the problem.

Garbage disposal not working due to a jam

Jamming problems are usually encountered when food and organic wastes are fibrous in nature like corn husks and avocado leaves. Some other culprits also include hard materials like bones, glass, metal pieces, utensils, and the like. When caught with this kind of a problem, never directly use your hands to clean the blockage; instead, use alternative tools like long pliers or tongs.

Garbage disposal is leaking

Most leaks are caused by faulty plumbing connections, or faulty drain. If you have just recently installed your garbage disposal unit, you might only need to tighten some connections. When leaks emanate from the drain pipe, it’s a clear sign that you have to replace the rubber gasket.

Garbage disposal not working humming

When the household owner observes unusual humming or noise from the disposal unit, minute foreign objects like metal, glass, bone, and others may have entered the motor area or the disposal unit itself thereby creating unusual noise when the machine is used. If the unit doesn’t jam, these foreign elements may later be disposed naturally. Loose screws, mountings, bolts, worn out bearings, and broken flyweights may also render the garbage disposal not working. This latter concern is related to the proper garbage disposal installation of the disposal unit or when the machine is already too old and quite rusted.

Sink garbage disposal not working due to clogs

Finally, there’s the problem of potentially clogging the garbage disposal unit when waste or leftovers in the sink are more than what the disposal unit could handle. This can simply be handled by cleaning out clogs from the filter, drain, or trap.

Preventing Garbage Disposal Problems

It is always better to take good care and properly maintain the garbage disposal than bump into several problems related to fixing and eventually replacing the unit. There are simple measures that can be undertaken to ensure that the disposal unit works well and it can be done even without effort.

  • Always keep garbage disposal units clean.
  • Regularly run and make use of it to prevent the motor and other parts to stuck and rust.
  • Use the disposal unit based on its capacity.
  • Avoid unsuitable materials like metal, plastic, rubber, rock and concrete, and the like for disposal.
  • Finally, to prevent garbage disposal not working properly or totally, only disposable or biodegradable materials suitable for the machine should be processed.