My garbage disposal won’t turn on. What do I do?

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We’ll show you what to do if your garbage disposal won’t turn on.

Garbage disposal won’t turn on?

Reason: There can be a number of reasons for this. Usually it’s nothing as serious as a broken garbage disposal.  

Press the Reset Button

For safety reasons, garbage disposals have built-in safety measures that turn off the garbage disposal when there’s something wrong. A garbage disposal can turn off automatically if it’s clogged, it’s been running for a long time, or it’s overheating. When this happens, you’ll have to push the reset button to restart the disposal. Otherwise it won’t turn on.

All garbage disposals have a reset button at the bottom or underneath the body. Usually this button is retracted but it will pop out when the safety measures kick in. To reset the disposal, first make sure that your garbage disposal is switched off. Then gently push the reset button. If the button doesn’t stay retracted, wait ten minutes before trying again. Then run the water and switch the disposal on again. This should fix your problem.

If the disposal reset button keeps popping out, or your disposal continually stops working and you keep having to push the reset button, then your disposal might require service or replacement.

Garbage disposal won’t turn on after reset?

Reason: You may have a problem with the power supply.

Check the Power Supply

This may seem obvious, but check that the disposal is properly plugged in. If it is, the next step is to check that the outlet is working properly. You can do this by plugging in another appliance – like a hair dryer – to see if it turns on. If it doesn’t, it’s a problem with the circuit breaker. Reset the circuit breaker by flipping the switch from “off” to “on”.

Garbage disposal won’t turn on and hums?

Reason: You may have a jammed disposal.  

Clear the Jam

Begin clearing the jam by turning off the power disposal, unplugging it, and turning off the circuit breaker. As you will be working inside the garbage disposal you’ll want to cut off all power to avoid hurting yourself.

Next, inspect the chamber of the disposal with a flashlight. Try to locate the source of the jam. Use tongs or a wooden spoon to see if you can free the jam. But never stick your hand inside. Even though you cut the power, there could be something sharp inside to injure you.

Also try freeing the jam manually with the Allen wrench that came with your disposal. Once the jam is cleared, you should be able to feel the propellers moving freely.

After you free the jam, push the reset button and restore the power supply.

Garbage disposal won’t turn on and there’s no sound?

Reason: It overheated or it’s not receiving power.

First, try pressing the reset button as we detailed above. Once the reset button is pushed and the garbage disposal still doesn’t turn on, it’s likely a problem with the power supply.

Check to see that it’s plugged in properly. Then check that the outlet is working properly by plugging in another appliance – such as a hair dryer. If it doesn’t work, then the circuit breaker probably tripped. Go to the circuit breaker panel and reset the circuit breaker that serves the garbage disposal by moving it from the “off” position back to the “on” position. If it’s halfway between the two, push it fully towards “off” before moving it back towards “on”.

Garbage disposal still won’t turn on?

If you tried all of the above and are still having no luck turning on your garbage disposal, it may be time to replace it.

If you need help choosing the newest garbage disposals with high ratings, check out some of our recommendations below:

Our Recommendations
5-Star Rating Review Price
KitchenAid KCDB250G garbage disposal

KitchenAid KCDB250G (1/2 HP)

 4.6 Read our review
Moen GX50C garbage disposal

Moen GX50C (1/2 HP)

 4.5 Read our review
Waste King Legend 3200 garbage disposal

Waste King Legend 3200 / Waste King Legend 9940 (3/4 HP)

 4.5 Read our review
InSinkErator Evolution Compact garbage disposalInSinkErator Evolution Compact (3/4 HP)  4.7 Read our review
InSinkErator Evolution Excel garbage disposalInSinkErator Evolution Excel (1 HP)  4.7 Read our review

1 Comment

  1. When I plugged it in to a different outlet to see if it would run, it started without the switch being in the on position, but wouldn’t turn off at the switch.

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