Garbage Disposal Clogs and Malfunctions: Common Causes and Fixes

San Jose Plumber Delves Further Into This Kitchen Helper

In a previous post about garbage disposals, we discussed that this device is easier than most folks believe. In this post, we dive a bit deeper into clearing a clog yourself as well as two additional issues that can occur. As always, safety first: NEVER stick your hands into the garbage disposal.

Clogs and Jams
Standing water in the kitchen sink may indicate a clog or jam in your garbage disposal. The plumbing repair may be as simple as pressing the overload protection button on the bottom of the unit. This reset may take up to 10 minutes.

If this doesn’t work, you may want to try the following:

  • Empty the water in the sink.
  • Turn off the disposal or the fuse that runs it.
  • Insert the disposal’s wrench into the hole at the bottom of the disposal.
  • Turn it back and forth a few times, applying pressure as needed.
  • Stop and check the inside of the disposal for anything caught in the shredding disk. If you see a problem, use pliers to remove the item.
  • Turn on the water and then the disposal and see if it runs properly. If not, repeat the steps until it does.

Sometimes using a plunger on a clogged disposal is also effective. If these steps don’t work, you need to call a plumber for a professional inspection.

Poor Grinding
Running more water while you run the disposal often fixes this problem. However, if you can hear the unit running, but it is not grinding, it is possible that the blades are broken, and the disposal must be replaced.

Leaks can occur simply from the vibration of the unit. Check where the leaks are coming from, and tighten the connections.

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