How to fix a garbage disposal?

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If your garbage disposal is not working, there are a few things you can do before determining that it needs replacing.

About 90% of cases where garbage disposals seem to have stopped working can be solved with a simple push of the “reset” button. This is usually a red or black button located at the bottom of your garbage disposal. For units that need an electrical outlet, make sure it’s properly plugged in and that the outlet has power.

Is your garbage disposal jammed? Most disposals come with a 1/4 inch-sized Allen wrench (if not, make sure you purchase one) that you insert in a hole at the bottom of your garbage disposal to crank it free. This method usually frees up most jams.

Garbage disposals can also stop working because of a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. This usually happens when something is jammed, the motor is damaged, the fuse or breaker is not at the correct capacity, or there is a short in the wiring. You should find out the exact cause. In some cases the repair may cost more than having it replaced with a new unit, in which case you may opt to buy a new one.

Still having problems? Call your manufacturer as many warranties include free parts and labor by trained service agents to repair and replace your garbage disposal, or have your plumber look into it.