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Steps to Take for a Broken Garbage Disposal

checking-disposal-drain-plumber-womanThank goodness for garbage disposals. Many of us have lived without them before, and it is certainly a pain. Garbage gets fuller and smellier faster, so you have to take it out more frequently. Washing dishes means a lot of back and forth to the trash can. And you have to clean out drain covers you use to catch food debris…yuck!

As great as the garbage disposal is, though, you may not feel so grateful when it breaks and you’re stuck without the powerful processing you needed. Often, this happens right in the middle of cleaning, when you’re using it, which may lead to a clogged sink. Will you have to call a plumber? Or can you handle it on your own?

Try the Reset Button

Sometimes, homeowners are embarrassed to find that, after calling in a plumber to repair a garbage disposal, they could have fixed it themselves. Don’t be embarrassed—we’re here to help! The reset button is located underneath the sink where the disposal unit sits.

This button can get pushed up as a failsafe when the disposal jams. Sometimes, resetting it alone can do the trick, though an obstruction may remain.

Check the Circuit Breaker

If you don’t hear any noise coming from the garbage disposal at all, it may just be that there’s no power to the unit. We know it may seem silly, but check to make sure it’s plugged in. Sometimes, a kid gets under the sink, a plug is accidentally pulled, or a spouse unplugs the disposal while attempting to repair something else, forgetting to plug it back in.

If this is all set, try the circuit breaker. Find the switch that leads to the kitchen sink area and reset it, or replace a blown fuse.

Use an Allen Wrench

For safety purposes, we recommend you never reach into the disposal. Besides, the solution may be underneath the unit. Just be sure to unplug the disposal first and foremost.

At the bottom of the disposal, you should be able to locate a hex shaped hole, on a joint that can rotate when loosened with a wrench. Grab a hex head Allen wrench to turn the disposal unit’s motor shaft back and forth. Go left, right, left, and right again, over and over until the wheel appears to be loosening up. If you don’t feel confident in these efforts, call a plumber.

Attempt the Broom Trick (or a Disposal Wrench)

Don’t see the hex hole at the bottom? Happen to have a special garbage disposal wrench? Great! This flexible wrench is inserted into the sink drain, and when you rotate it, the grip should hold onto the disposal wheel. This allows you to wiggle the disposal back and forth until something unjams.

Of course, most of us don’t just have this lying around. You may, however, have a broom handle. Shut off the power to the disposal. Turn the broom upside down and use the handle to attempt to unjam the blockage by rotating it clockwise and counterclockwise, over and over.

If something has gotten into the disposal, use tongs to take it out (and again, never use your hands). Otherwise, you should always rely on dependable plumbers to do the work.

For a reliable plumber in Minneapolis, MN, you can always count on VOGT Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing.

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