What to do when your garbage disposal stops working

When your garbage disposal stops working, usually it’s a workable problem and doesn’t necessarily require a full replacement. In this article, we provide a few ideas on problems that can arise and what do about them.

Power Problems with Turning on the Unit

A power problem where the garbage disposal is not turning on can be caused by a variety of issues.

  1. Certainly, the most obvious is check whether the power plug has worked its way out of the power outlet. It’s obvious, but it saves trying other things when you haven’t looked at the most obvious reason yet. Being under the sink, anyone moving things around down there can knock the plug right out of the socket and you’d never know!
  2. Check if it’s a dual power outlet and if the other power outlet is working or not. It could be a blown fuse or a malfunction on one socket but not the other. Check the fuse box too.
  3. Then look at the button or air switch being used. Is it a mechanical issue with the button where it’s being depressed but the equipment has failed to send a signal to the unit to turn on? Check the electronical connection (turn off the power first) to see if it’s loose on the button or the button needs replacing.
  4. If there’s a manual switch on the side of the disposal unit to turn it on, try that to test it’s operational. That will help highlight where the issue is.
  5. Also, consider if there’s insufficient power to turn on the disposal unit if too many other kitchen appliances are being run simultaneously.

Is There a Sound Emanating from the Unit?

If there’s a sound coming from the unit, it could have something stuck inside that’s cause the grinding plates to get stuck in position. Their back and forth motion is then causing this whirring sound.

First, turn off the power. And check that it’s really turning off.

Second, use something safe to attempt to remove what’s gotten caught inside.

Third, if it won’t dislodge, then there’s usually the option on the garbage unit to adjust it with a tool to get the grinding plates to release enough so you can remove the item that was previously trapped.

Resetting the Disposal Unit

Sometimes, a unit just gets confused about its life and what it should be doing! In which case, find its reset button and reset it. That often is all it takes to get it back to working order again.

When too much food has been fed into the unit, it can cause it to overload and stop. Then it’s a perfect example of why a reset is then necessary.

Nothing Else Found?

If there isn’t something stuck inside when examining it and the unit won’t power up whatever you try, then if the unit is inside the warranty, get it checked out. Other than that, it’s up to you whether to look to get it fixed or choose to upgrade to a newer model anyway.