Nothing is worse than a broken garbage disposal. It seems that they break at the most inopportune times. Usually leaving you with a smelly mess in your sink. In this article I will discuss the best ways to repair your garbage disposal problems, and at the end I will explain how to change your garbage disposal with a new one.
There are a variety of problems you may encounter with your garbage disposal.
Sink Won’t Drain:
This is the most common first sign that your garbage disposal isn’t working properly. There’s a few things you will need to check in order to repair the correct item. If you operate the disposal, and it sounds normal. Than you probably have a clog at your P Trap at the bottom of the drain. It is the U looking piece of pipe. A lot of debris gets accumulated at this point in the pipe. Get a small bucket, and place it under the P Trap. Remove the P Trap connections, and ensure the P Trap is clear. If you have a clog farther in the line you can either call a plumber, or read about drain augers in my other article.
Disposal not turning on:
If you activate the disposal, and it doesn’t make a sound. I would check the reset button located on the bottom of the garbage disposal. These reset buttons should reset when clicked in. If it continues to trip, than you probably have an internal short within the disposal. I would recommend replacing the garbage disposal.
Slight hum coming from garbage disposal when activated:
If you hear a slight hum coming from the disposal when activated. You probably have a blade that is stuck. I have found that long screwdrivers can help get the disposal unjammed. You will want to rotate the blade in a circular motion to try to get the blades dislodged from what is jamming it. If the items that are stopping the disposal are metal or glass. Then you will want to remove these items from inside the disposal. If you unplug the electrical cord coming from the garbage disposal to the wall receptacle. You should be fine to put your hand inside the disposal to retrieve the unwanted items. Make sure you test the garbage disposal before sticking your hand in. Ensure the power is off!
How to change your garbage disposal.
Removing old garbage disposal:
Once you unplug the electrical cord coming from the bottom of the disposal you have successfully disconnected the electrical. Next step is to remove the piping coming from the side of the disposal. Sometime it uses 2 screws with a O ring behind a metal plate, and sometimes they are threaded in. Remove the piping connections so the only connection is the top part of the disposal. The basket connects the disposal to the bottom of the sink. Most garbage disposals will drop off the basket once rotated. Be ready to catch the disposal when doing this.
Installing new garbage disposal:
Depending on the replacement garbage disposal you picked. You may need to replace the basket that connects the disposal with the sink. If you replace this item make sure you clean the sink completely of the old plumber’s putty that was used. Apply a new ring of plumber’s putty around the basket where it connects to the sink. This will ensure it is water tight. Once the basket is attached you can see if you need to attach the power cord to the bottom of the disposal. If the power cord is missing. You can remove the power cord from the old disposal. It is usually attached with wire nuts underneath the metal plate. Reattach the power cord to the new disposal underneath the metal plate with wire nuts.
If you have a dishwasher hose attached. Make sure you knock out the plastic stopper inside the tube where the dishwasher hose attaches to the the garbage disposal. You can do this with a screwdriver and hammer. Take out the plastic piece from inside the disposal after you dislocated it from the tube. They put they plastic plugs in there if you don’t have a dishwasher installed.
Next you will need to reattach the disposal to the basket that connected to the bottom of the sink. Make sure you attach the disposal in the proper direction of the piping. Reattach the piping to the p trap, and ensure all connections are snug to prevent water leaks. Reattach the dishwasher hose. Make sure you direct the dishwasher hose up to create an air gap. The best way to describe this is to direct the hose the opposite way of the P Trap. An air gap in the dishwasher hose is crucial to prevent garbage disposal water to from draining into the dishwasher hose. This will cause unexpected water to be in your dishwasher even when not using it.
Once everything is reattached and snug. Turn on the sink to run some water through the pipes to ensure the pipes are all water tight. Reattach the electrical cord of the garbage disposal to the electrical receptacle that controls it. Turn on the disposal to ensure it is running properly.
Refer to the installation manuals for all installation directions if they differ from what I have been telling you. My goal is to help you save a few dollars while being a homeowner.
Badger Garbage DisposalInSinkErator Garbage DisposalMoen GX50C Prep SeriesChooba Garbage Disposal 3/4HPWaste King Garbage DisposalMoen EXL100C EX Chef Series 1 HP2-Piece 12” Long Slotted and Phillips Screwdriver Set3 lb Dead Blow HammerAquaPlumb Plumbers Putty