5 Common Problems with Garbage Disposals

Houston Texas plumbing professionals deal with repairing garbage disposals on a daily basis. This article will outline the top 5 common problems experienced with garbage disposals.  If you are currently having problems with yours and you came to this page looking for a plumbing professional to assist you then you have come the right place. You can count on the experienced and professional plumbers at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Rosenberg to help you resolve your garbage disposal issues.

Garbage Disposal Does not Work when Turned on

The first thing you will need to do is check if there is power to the garbage disposal. Inspect the fuse box or circuit breakers, if there is power, look on the bottom of the garbage disposal unit. There should be a small red button on most units, located underneath the unit near the bottom. This red button is called the reset button.  In the event that the button is popped out, then the disposal motor got too hot. This typically happens when there is a jam in the garbage disposal or it was left running for too long.

If it is due to a jam, then the jam will need to be cleared out and then after it is cleared then the red button will be pushed to reset the unit. There should be a small clicking sound when the reset button is pushed, if you hear this it is normal.  If it pops out again after clicking it then the disposal is still jammed.  If the button works but there is still no power going to the unit and it will not turn on then the disposal’s motor has probably worn out or burned up and you are better off purchasing a new garbage disposal.  Diagnosing a garbage disposal can be a dangerous task if you do not know what you are doing.  We recommend that you have a Houston Texas plumbing professional handle this for you and assess the problem.

Garbage Disposal Jams

Disposals will become jammed if certain foods or other objects are placed in the disposal. Items such as corn husks or other fiber rich vegetable matter, bones, utensils, and glass are also classic examples of what can jam a disposal. Most garbage disposal units should have a small hole that is located underneath the motor in the center. This hole will allow a ¼” Allen wrench into it and will allow you to move the masher plate that is located inside of the disposal back and forth. This in most cases will typically free jams.

However, some disposals do not have Allen wrench sockets. In these types of disposals, you will need to ensure that the power is off to the unit from the fuse box or circuit breaker panel.  Then you can use an object such as a broom handle, plunger or mop. You will insert it through the top of the disposal and then try and move the masher plate back and forth to try and free up the jam.  Once freed you will need to inspect the red reset button at the bottom of the unit and if it is popped, push it back in, cut the power back on to the unit, and try again.

If you are unable to get the masher plate to move back and forth, then you will need to find a Houston Texas plumbing professional to handle this for you. Garbage Disposal units can be extremely dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. Fingers and hands are amputated every single year due to garbage disposal accidents. You should never place your hands or fingers inside the unit. If you are uncomfortable handling the garbage disposal then it is best and we recommend that you contact a Houston Texas plumbing professional to take care of this for you.

Garbage Disposal Leaks

Sometimes the garbage disposal may leak somewhere in the system. The first thing to do when this happens is to check the connections first.  If the leak is located at the drain pipe then in all likelihood the rubber gasket will need to be replaced.  If the garbage disposal is a fairly new install, then you will need to inspect the flange and ensure that it is set tight.  However, if the leak is coming from inside the body of the disposal, in most cases you will need to replace the garbage disposal itself.  If you are unsure or can’t find the leak then contact a Houston Texas plumbing professional to assess and inspect the disposal for you.

Loud Noises from the Garbage Disposals

Often when this happens it is usually due to an object that the system is not able to grind such as a piece of metal, bone, glass or something else that will make all the fussing noises.  If this object does not eventually jam the system then it may find its way down through the drain system eventually.

Other times the loud noises can be due to broken flyweights, worn out blades or lugs, loose mounting screws or even worn out bearings.  The first thing to do is check out the mounting screws located directly underneath the sink’s drain. If the screws are loose then simply tighten them up.  Flyweights can be broken due to metal objects that have fallen into the system while it is on. Over time the lugs and / or blades will wear out and become less efficient.  There are a few garbage disposal models that will allow the replacement of these blades, but in most cases, a new disposal will need to be purchased. If your disposal is making loud noises and you are not sure what is causing then contact a Houston Texas plumbing professional to look into it for you.
 

Clogs Caused by a Garbage Disposal

In the event that the garbage disposal has clogged up the drain it can be a daunting task to fix this.  Requiring shutting off power at the main and disassembling the trap itself and using a drain snake to clear out the clog and many other steps. In this scenario it is best to seek out the help of a Houston Texas plumbing professional to take care of the problem for you.