Saving money is something which is always a good idea. This is not to say that you can always forgo calling to get something fixed in your home. It is the reason why there are so many how-to books available. So, before you call your local plumber just because you have a clogged garbage disposal, take a look at this information on how to fix a garbage disposal yourself.
How To Fix A Garbage Disposal
There are a few things you can do if you have a clogged garbage disposal so that you will be able to save some money. The first thing you can do is to check for any obstructions. You can also try to force the clog out. As a last case scenario, you can call in licensed professionals to handle the problem for you. With some luck, you will be capable of taking care of the problem for free. Worst case scenario is that you may have to invest in a new garbage disposal installation.
How to fix a clogged garbage disposal
Step 1 – Check for Obstructions
The first point that you must remember when you are trying to fix a garbage disposal is that you are dealing with two potent enemies- water and electricity and it does not take a genius to figure out that they don’t go well together. Also remember you are dealing with a sharp grinding mechanism that will easily remove fingers and hands, so of you would like to keep those I would highly recommend keeping them out of the disposal opening entirely.
The first thing you should therefore do is to shut off the power to the unit from the house breakers. This way when you are doing anything, you will not have to worry about getting hurt and having to go to the emergency room. Eliminating electricity from the picture makes the exercise significantly safer. Use a pair of tongs and a flashlight to try and root out any material which should not be there. Even with the unit off, it is possible to cut your hands on the grinder teeth.
Step 2 – Force Out the Clog
As you know, garbage disposal comes with blades that take care of the crushing and grinding. If water cannot pass through, the obstruction must be at the bottom. Most garbage disposal units come with a special wrench (typically an Allen wrench). If yours do not come with one, then you can head out to the nearest home improvement store and purchase one for a few dollars.
Next insert the Allen wrench underneath the unit where the flywheel is located. Once you find the wrench hole turn the wrench clockwise until you feel resistance. The resistance is an indication that the wrench which controls the flywheel has come into contact with what is causing the clog. After a few turns going counter clockwise as well – repeat the process until the resistance is gone.
Once you are sure that the obstruction has cleared, you can now switch the power on as well as the reset button. Pour in a considerable amount of water to test if your unclogging technique was effective. Rather than having to re-pipe the sink, try to plunge through any standing water. Often material from the dishwasher can get lodged in the disposal. Use the wrench which came with the disposal to try and free anything which might have been caught in the unit.
Now if the same scenario happens only this time when you use your Allen wrench you were not able to find a sign of clogged material (no resistance when you turn it clockwise/counter-clockwise), then it must be the case that it is not the garbage disposal that was clogged but the pipeline.
You can do some basic troubleshooting stuff to remedy this. Some unclogging gels and liquids are available in the market which can take care of materials that can easily be dissolved. You can also use a plunger. A plunger helps you unclog the pipe by exerting a considerable amount of air into the system that seeks to flush out the stubborn material that is present. I would suggest using a different one then the toilet plunger due to bacteria!
Step 3 – When to Call in the Specialists
When all these simple steps on how to fix a clogged garbage disposal fails, it is time to call the pros or learn how to install garbage disposal. Look for plumbers with the best online reviews. They will be able to help you whether your system is hooked up to a public sewer system or even a septic tank.
Eventually, they will be able to help you with a jammed garbage disposal as they are the experts and have the know how to fix a broken garbage disposal. While it is not free, at least it will save you some headaches and money in the end.
How to fix a garbage disposal no sound or humming only
You try to turn it on, but only hear a humming sound or no sound at all. Try to reset the unit by pressing the red reset button located underneath the garbage disposal. Check that the GFI or GFCI electrical outlet has not tripped.
Tips on how to use the garbage disposal properly
Always put a small amount of food in the disposer. Do not fully pack it with the stuff. When it is grinding food, don’t pass hot water through it. When it sounds normal, it means the grinding process is working fine. Then keep the water running through it for 20 more seconds. When leaving home for long then run the water through it for at least 40 seconds as there may be some food particles blocked in it. Last and most important is not to put your hand inside it when the disposer is grinding or even if the unit is plugged in.
In the situation that your garbage disposal stops working, firstly you need to check is the power plug properly plugged into the socket. After that, check the overload breaker which is usually located at the bottom of the disposer. Press the reset button. Even after that if your garbage disposal does not start working then it means it is jammed or broken.
As is the case with any machinery, food disposal units too need periodical maintenance and repairs for its proper and efficient working. The care of the disposal depends on upon the make and model of the unit. But one should know how to fix certain problems which are easy to handle and are common to all brands and types of machines. Here are some tips to go about that.
It would also considerably help if you can be proactive about this and just make sure that you prevent these things from happening by being careful about what you put on to your sink. Food particles no matter how small, when accumulated, can become a headache. Always run plenty of water while using your disposal and remember that ultimately whatever you are putting down there is going to go through your home plumbing system eventually. Be reasonable with what you “dispose of” and try these simple tips before you hire a plumber.
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