Garbage Disposal Repair: How To Fix a Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are more than just convenient — they help reduce food waste in landfills, which is great for the environment. When your garbage disposal is clogged, leaking, or otherwise broken, trust your local Mr. Appliance to provide garbage disposal repair service or replacement. Our experienced local teams offer flexible scheduling and upfront pricing to help with all of your garbage disposal repair needs.

Below, we’ll explain common issues that you may experience when your garbage disposal isn’t working properly, as well as tips for how to fix your garbage disposal before calling Mr. Appliance.

Remember, never put your hand into your garbage disposal, as it can lead to serious injuries. Always turn the power off and unplug the unit while you’re checking the garbage disposal to ensure your safety. If you’re still having trouble and need professional guidance, we’re just a phone call away.

List of six steps for fixing a garbage disposal.

1. Check the Power

If your garbage disposal isn’t turning on when plugged in, it could signal an electrical problem. Before you reach out to your local Mr. Appliance, follow these two steps:

  • Push the reset button: Sometimes, the built-in circuit breaker on a garbage disposal can trip. To reset it, simply push the reset button at the bottom of the unit.
  • Check for tripped circuit breakers: There’s a chance your main circuit breaker tripped, so check your home’s electrical panel for a complete reset. Then, run your garbage disposal and see if that solves the problem.

If the problem persists, the motor is likely worn out, and the unit may need replacing. The professionals at your local Mr. Appliance will confirm if this is the issue and whether or not your garbage disposal needs replacing.

2. Clear the Drain

High-fiber foods, cornhusks, avocado peels, bones, utensils, and other materials can jam your disposal. To address clogs, start making sure the power is turned off by unplugging the unit.

Then, disassemble the trap — the U-shaped drain under the sink that catches food debris — and clear the clog with a drain snake. After you’ve removed all debris, reassemble the trap and turn the water on to check if the clog has cleared.

3. Fix the Impeller Plates and Flywheels

Excessive noise or a humming sound coming from your garbage disposal when you turn it on typically indicates a jammed flywheel or impeller plate. In most cases, it’s a result of foreign objects, food, or loose mounting screws. Under the motor, you can insert a socket wrench into the flywheel hole to rotate the impeller or flywheel and attempt to clear the jam.

4. Rotate the Blades

The blades attached to the impeller plate can also become stuck due to a buildup of food waste. The build-up can prevent the garbage disposal from draining. To fix this, turn off the unit and use an Allen wrench to manually rotate the blades back and forth. Once you feel the blades loosen, turn the unit back on for a test run.

If the problem persists, it may be because the blades are old and worn, or there is a motor issue.

5. Check for Leaks

Leaks usually indicate a loose sink flange or a rubber gasket needing replacement. However, sometimes leaks mean the unit will have to be replaced. Determine the source of the leak by inspecting the area where a pool of water is present. Leaks are most common at the sink flange, at the dishwasher connection, or at the discharge drainpipe.

Once the source of the leak is found, you can move forward with the right course of action to repair it. For leaks coming from the dishwasher connection or discharge drainpipe, you may need to use a clamp or tighten the bolts to prevent the leak. However, the hose or pipe may also need to be replaced.

If the leak is coming from the top of the sink or there is a crack in the garbage disposal, a sealant may do the trick. To ensure you properly address any leaks, call a professional garbage disposal repair service to lend a hand.

6. Call a Local Professional

If you’re still having trouble with your garbage disposal, it may indicate a bigger problem, like a faulty motor or electrical issues. Proper maintenance is extremely important to preserve the integrity of your garbage disposal and prevent it from being damaged.

After trying the steps above, contact a professional garbage disposal repair service like Mr. Appliance to determine why your garbage disposal isn’t working and if a replacement is necessary.

Our Garbage Disposal Repair Service Expertise

List of garbage disposal brands and garbage disposal parts that Mr. Appliance can repair.

We provide garbage disposal repair services for the two main types of units: continuous-feed and batch-feed. If you don’t know which kind you have, no worries — we’ll know what to do when we arrive.

Parts We Repair and Replace

Your local Mr. Appliance team is equipped to replace any part for disposal brands like InSinkErator, Whirlaway, and Kitchenaid. We commonly source and install the following parts:

  • Lids and baffles
  • Gaskets and seals
  • Tubing
  • Lugs
  • Motors
  • Flyweights
  • Flanges

When To Replace a Garbage Disposal

It’s probably time to replace your garbage disposal if you notice the following issues:

  • It doesn’t turn on, but there’s no power issue.
  • The body of the disposal leaks water.
  • The appliance requires frequent resets.
  • It’s over 15 years old.

All these symptoms imply severe issues with the motor, wiring, or the unit's body. While a repair can sometimes address these issues, garbage disposal replacement is usually more cost-effective. Garbage disposals generally last around 10 to 15 years, so if you’ve been experiencing frequent issues, it may be time for a replacement.

Additionally, replacing the unit may be the best choice if your appliance’s malfunction is related to flyweights, blades, or flanges. Your local Mr. Appliance can help you weigh your options.

Find a Garbage Disposal Repair Service

Testimonial from a Mr. Appliance customer who had their garbage disposal repaired.

Rather than searching online and vetting dozens of unknown companies, save your energy by choosing a team of local professionals with proven reliability and skill. At Mr. Appliance, our Neighborly Done Right Promise ensures quality workmanship every time.

Our experts are at your disposal for speedy appliance repairs, and we’re always glad to help solve your appliance problems. Whether you need a garbage disposal repair or a full replacement and installation, our skilled professionals are always ready to lend a hand.

Request an appointment online to discuss how we can help you repair your garbage disposal.

FAQ About Garbage Disposal Repair

Is It Worth It To Repair a Garbage Disposal?

Yes, it’s worth it to repair a garbage disposal if it’s less than seven years old and there isn’t significant damage to the unit. For example, a clogged drain or a jam is easy to fix and reasonably priced. However, if the issue is more severe, like a leak that can’t be sealed, a persistent humming sound, or electrical issues, it may be time for a replacement.

Though you can typically replace parts of a garbage disposal, sometimes replacing the entire unit is more cost-effective than buying and replacing a single part.

What Is the Main Reason for a Garbage Disposal Not Working?

Some of the most common reasons for garbage disposal not working properly are the following:

  • Overheating due to excessive use
  • Clogs in the drain
  • Motor problems
  • Jammed flywheel
  • Electrical issues
  • Leaks

Where Is the Reset Button on a Garbage Disposal?

The reset button should be located on the bottom of the unit, but it may also be on the side. For most garbage disposals, the reset button will be red, so it should be easy to spot. If you’re having trouble locating the reset button, check the instruction manual or the manufacturer's website.

How Do You Fix a Garbage Disposal That Won’t Come On?

If your garbage disposal won’t turn on and it’s plugged in, there’s a chance the reset button has tripped. If this happens, the reset button will pop out about a quarter of an inch. Simply press it back into place to restart it, then turn the garbage disposal on.

If it still doesn’t turn on after you’ve hit the reset button, check your dedicated circuit breaker to see if it’s been tripped. If that’s not the issue, there may be electrical issues that a professional repair service can look into.

What Can I Put in a Garbage Disposal?

Items that are safe to put in a garbage disposal include:

  • Food: Most soft foods are completely safe to put down the garbage disposal, but cut larger pieces of food into smaller pieces before sending them down the drain.
  • Citrus fruit peels: Peels of citrus fruit can help deter odor in your garbage disposal, but make sure to cut them into small pieces so they don’t cause a jam.
  • Ice cubes: When putting ice in your garbage disposal, try adding some vinegar and baking soda for a natural deodorizer.
  • Dish soap: Avoid putting cleaners with harsh chemicals down garbage disposals and instead use dish soap as a safer alternative.

Understanding what you can’t put down at garbage disposal is just as important as avoiding clogs and jams. Here are some items you should avoid putting down a garbage disposal:

  • Fibrous foods like banana peels, celery, and artichoke
  • Starchy foods like potato peels and pasta
  • Coffee grounds
  • Bones
  • Fruit pits
  • Eggshells
  • Oils and grease
  • Household trash like cans and bottles
  • Chemical cleaners

How Hard Is It To Replace a Garbage Disposal?

On a DIY scale of 1 to 10, a garbage disposal replacement falls between 5 and 7. Garbage disposals have numerous parts and plumbing hookups, so unless you have experience, it’s best to leave this job to a licensed professional.

Is Garbage Disposal Blade Replacement Worth It?

No, we don’t recommend a blade replacement. While you can purchase a replacement garbage disposal blade (also known as a shredding plate), it typically costs around 25% to 30% of the cost of a brand-new garbage disposal. Plus, it may not be possible to replace this part on some units. So, in most cases, it makes more sense to replace the unit altogether.

This article is intended for general guidance only and may not be applicable to every situation. You are responsible for determining the proper course of action for your property and your situation. Mr. Appliance is not responsible for any damages that occur as a result of any advice or guidance derived from blog content. For the most accurate guidance, contact an independently owned and operated Mr. Appliance business for a professional custom and on-site assessment.

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