It doesn’t matter if you spend $100 on an affordable garbage disposal, or several hundred dollars on the best garbage disposer unit on the market. A garbage disposer will jam if left unused for a long period of time. This is something that’s quite common especially in homes of elderly customers that don’t use the unit very often. It also happens when people go on long vacations and the last thing you want when you get home from vacations is to have a rusty garbage disposal that isn’t working.
The grinding plate will rust to the wall and the motor will be unable to break it loose. If the main seal is starting to fail, a small amount of water may leak onto the upper motor bearing and rust it. As long as it is regularly used, breaking the rusted grinding plate loose with a bar will work fine and put the disposer back into service.
An unjamming wrench is supplied with almost all In-Sink-Erator disposers and it’s essential to start fixing the jamming problems. It is designed to be inserted into the bottom of the motor shaft and twisted to move the grinding blade. In truth, it is only helpful on minor jams. More torque than can be supplied by the wrench is usually needed.
Unjamming a disposer is usually a five to ten minute job and results in a minimum charge. Some companies charge for a minimum of fifteen minutes labor over the service charge.
I have funny story about garbage disposal. Well, maybe not so funny.
One day, a now retired technician, ran into a customer relations problem while trying to fix a jammed disposer. He quickly located a jamming paper clip, removed it from the disposer, and sat it on the countertop. He showed it to the lady and wrote her up for a service charge plus a minimum of fifteen minutes time.
She looked at the bill and said, Sixty dollars, that’s ridiculous! You’ve only been here five minutes.
He explained that the charge was correct and asked her to pay him. She refused. Phil had been around for a long time and didn’t believe in taking any stuff from customers. Without hesitation, he said, Okay.” He threw the paper clip back in the disposer, turned it on for a second, and rejammed it. He picked up his tools and walked out the door.
The livid and now screaming customer chased him outside and stood in the middle of the driveway blocking his truck. Folklore has it that the woman was screaming so much that neighbors called police in order to settle the disagreement. I wonder if that customer ever called him for service again?