How to Repair a Garbage Disposal? – A Complete Instruction

Garbage disposals help drain the kitchen wastewater by crushing the wastes into finer particles before mixing them with the water. Like any other kitchen plumbing equipment, they also suffer various damages and issues that impede their free workings. How to repair a garbage disposal? It is important to know about these issues and how to remedy them.

In our discussions below, we shall peek into the subject matter of how to repair a garbage disposal. We shall highlight the common issues that these items suffer and how best to deal with them. Then, we shall round it up by offering answers to some of the frequently asked questions regarding the matter at hand.

How to repair a garbage disposal?

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Below are the steps and their details to teach you how to repair a garbage disposal.

1. How to unjam a garbage disposal?

As part of our look into how to repair a garbage disposal, we examine how to unjam garbage disposal in the steps below:

Step 1. Turn the power on the garbage disposal off. Shut the circuit breaker off and also proceed to the wall and switch off the main area where the electrical outlet supplies the power to the disposal.

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Step 2. Insert the offset wrench that was bought alongside the garbage disposal unit into the turning hole of the flywheel. You will find this hole located at the bottom of the unit.

Step 3. Turn the wrench in the clockwise direction so that you may dislodge the impeller that is stuck or the flywheel altogether. Proceed to turn the flywheel freely after you have already dislodged the impeller.

Step 4. Alternatively, you may reach down the disposal using a wooden spoon handle or any other similarly strong wooden handle. Use it as a lever to turn the flywheel freely and smoothly at the point of the drain opening.

Step 5. Skim the disposal by shining a bright flashlight into the disposal. Use a set of pliers to eliminate any debris that may clog the unit. Adopt a smooth and consistent approach to prevent imposing further damages.

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Step 6. Upon freeing the flywheel, turn the power back on at the main service area but leave the one at the disposal unturned yet.

Step 7. Press the red reset button at the disposal’s bottom. Test the system by running some tap water into the garbage disposal and then flipping the switch on and off for a shorter time.

Step 8. Turn the switch on and off again in rapid succession. In this way, it should be possible for you to dislodge any hardened debris to be subsequently washed down the drains smoothly and clearly.

2. How to unclog a garbage disposal?

In this stage of discussing how to repair a garbage disposal, we now belabor how to unclog garbage disposal for you to consider and gain the necessary insight:

Step 1. Remove the bolts that attach the discharge pipe to the garbage disposal. While at this, maintain some tender care and attentiveness to prevent further damage to the system and the other components of the plumbing mechanism.

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Step 2. Go ahead now to detach the drain trap and then eliminate the trap to discharge the drain pipe from the system. This may require the extensive use of the screws, spanners, and wrench. Work your way slowly and steadily to prevent damages.

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Step 3. At this stage, you should now check the entire system for any damages or obstructions that may be present there. Go ahead to clear them the best way possible to leave behind sparklingly clean outcomes.

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Step 4. For better outcomes, you must make use of the sink auger and use the same to penetrate the branches of the drain lines that go to the wall. Complement this with vinegar or some harsh to fix garbage disposal without allen wrench


Step 5. Re-assemble the constituent parts and components you may have detached when attempting to clean out the interior spaces. Also, reconnect the discharge tube to the side of the garbage disposal and make it fit well.

Step 6. Run some water to the garbage disposal and turn it on. As the water runs, check out the performance to ascertain whether the water is running as freely as is supposed to be the case.

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3. How to fix a broken garbage disposal?

At some times, it could be that the sink has some mechanical issues that affect its proper functioning. Remedying this mechanical problem may require some physical intervention. We explain these in this segment of how to repair garbage disposal:

Step 1. Disassemble the disposal unit and narrow it to the precise part that is affected by the brokenness. This may require a great deal of insight and the use of a flashlight.fix leaking garbage disposal

Step 2. After you have narrowed to the affected part, you now have to find a suitable replacement for the part. If and only if you cannot make any alterations to that part without posing excess further damages.

Step 3. It is not uncommon for you to have to replace the affected parts and components completely. That may require you to go to a hardware shop and purchase the new part.

Step 4. After you have fixed the affected broken part, you have to re-assemble the disposal units to the way it was before you dis-assembled it.

Step 5. Test the system now by turning the garbage disposal unit on and seeing how it performs thereafter. Let some water run to mimic how the wastes would run in the system. Make any necessary adjustments thereafter if the flow is not as smooth and consistent as it should.

4. How to fix a frozen garbage disposal?

Just if the garbage disposal is frozen, you may notice that it does not grind the debris as smoothly as it should. Also, there is the likelihood that the blades may break up. You need to follow the steps outlined below in how to repair garbage disposal to remedy it:

Step 1. Squeeze the wrench into the hole that is found at the bottom of the disposal unit. Be sure that it fits as smoothly as it can be. That is to prevent any dangers that may arise when turning it on and off.

Step 2. Move now to work the wrench in a back and forth manner using a moderate amount of force. Take great care to ensure that the wrench does not impose permanent damages to the garbage disposal unit.

Step 3. Now check out the overload protector to see whether it has tripped. Press the red button on it to activate it. You may have to try again after some time (10 minutes) just to let it work.

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Step 4. Having done with that, you should now check the grinding chamber of the disposal to see whether it indeed works well as it is expected to. In particular, check out the shredding disk to find out whether the same cuts the debris well.

Step 5. Remove any clogs or hardened debris using a pair of tongs, pliers, or other specialized equipment forms. Complement this with vinegar and other powerful chemicals to dissolve the debris completely.

Step 6. Run some water to the system to see how the same might work. Do not hesitate to redo a couple of steps above to ensure that the system works smoothly and freely.


Troubleshooting garbage disposal problems

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Before we delve into how to repair a garbage disposal, we must first find out the major problems that these apparatus do suffer from time to time. Below are them:

  • Not working and no noise

At times, the disposal may not turn on or generate the humming sound. This may indicate an electrical fault that typically prevents the appliance from generating the current. You may have to call in a trained and qualified electrical expert to help you with the issue’s identification and solution.

  • Jammed

If the unit turns on yes, but does not generate the torque and instead only hums, you may indicate that the flywheel contained in it is jammed. In this sense, the appliance’s reset button may pop up or trip faster than is naturally expected to be the case.

  • Disposal grinds poorly

This refers to a situation in which the appliance powers on and actually grinds the contents. However, it does not yield smoother and finer grinding outcomes that are generally yearned for. This may signify broken blades or some clogs in between the blades. That of course, may require some overhaul of the blades.

  • Clogged and not draining

It occurs when the wastewater won’t sink in the drainage or plumbing system of the home. That may, for a large part, signify plumbing rather than a garbage disposal problem. If and when the water stands in the sink for too long, that may cause foul stench to arise and the attendant contaminations.

  • Leaking

how to fix a leaking garbage disposal from the bottomGarbage disposal leaking is often characterized by the passage of fluids in the plumbing mechanism, and this one tends to soil the areas underneath this piece of plumbing equipment. If left unattended for a longer duration, the result may often be a foul stench, poor hygiene, and the possible contaminations of the spaces affected.

  • Drains slowly

Closely related to the clogging, this one is characterized by the wastewater taking too long to seep out into the plumbing system. It is largely caused by the over-accumulation of the food wastes, drying, hardening of the same within the plumbing system, or placement of larger chunks of waste disposal.

  • Overheating

In some instances, the unit does generate too much heat; beyond the accepted thresholds. This may usually be a pointer to some faults in the electrical systems of the garbage disposal. Like the case of not working at all above, you may yet again have to bring in a trained expert to help out.

  • Power problems

how to troubleshoot garbage disposalThe garbage disposal relies on a large part of the electrical energy to operate. Thus, any fault or issue with the electrical systems does impede the smooth working of the disposal. In most cases, it is the power supply unit that malfunctions and makes it impossible for the gadget to power up.

  • Weird noises

Ever turned the system on and heard some weird noises? This could signify that the system has jammed or that some of the moving parts have sustained irreversible damages. Try out to check whether anything could have got in between the flywheel and eliminate it.

  • Foul odors

The emergence of foul odor is a common problem with these garbage disposals. For a large part, this problem arises mainly due to the dirt that hardens and settles in the plumbing system. To remedy it, you may have to pour some hot water and use vinegar to dissolve it.

  • Excess smoke

Though rare, the garbage disposal may also often generate some smoke in discharging its duties. A faulty or defective garbage motor is the one that causes this issue to arise. You may want to examine the circuit to look out for any signs of short-circuiting.

  • Dead garbage disposal

Garbage disposal is considered ‘dead’ if it just won’t respond to any prompt or switches. If and when this issue arises, many factors or dangers may converge. These include the short circuit, failing motor, or faulty connectivity at the same time. An extensive examination of the disposal may be necessary to remedy this issue.


Dos and don’ts when maintaining your garbage disposal

garbage disposal maintenance

When maintaining your garbage disposal unit, there are issues you may have to adhere to. We now belabor them in our peek into how to repair garbage disposal:


  • Take time to learn and familiarize yourself with the garbage disposal unit you have. This is important as it determines the steps you might take to make any remedies to the item in the course of a breakdown.
  • Clean and maintain your garbage disposal after every use. Use hot water and some vinegar to do this. The aim is to ensure a smoother passage of the wastewater and the debris without clogging the same.
  • Check the power unit to ascertain that it indeed furnishes the power output as seamlessly as it should. Make use of a voltage tester to do this job.
  • Run cold water when the system is in use. The purpose of the cold water is to clear out every debris and ensure the unobstructed flow of the wastewater to the home’s municipal drainage.
  • Make use of a drain strainer to prevent the issue of the blockage of the drains. Should the items get stuck in the drains for too long, grind some lemon and pour the same atop to make it feel better.


  • Deposit ground coffee, metal, rubber, glass, bones, eggshells, or fibrous foods in the garbage disposal tend to block the same to prevent the smooth passage of the wastewater.
  • Overfill the disposal unit as this may overwhelm the system even to destroy the same completely.
  • Use extremely harsh chemicals to dissolve and neutralize the debris in the drains. They might similarly corrode the garbage disposal unit’s metallic parts and components and render the same irreversibly damaged.



We now get to answer some of the frequently asked questions as part of our peek into how to repair garbage disposal:

Q1. What causes humming garbage disposal?

Some factors are responsible for this. They are:

  • Clogged or jammed motor

This humming sound could be indicative of a motor that is clogged or jammed. If either issue arises, the motor may not generate the rotary torque that the blades need to rotate and shred the debris. This may require a complete check of the motor to find out how it fairs on.

  • Unresponsive blades

Sometimes, it could be that the motor provides the torque, yes, but it is the blade that is simply unresponsive. In that case, the blades themselves could have some issues that may hinder them from operating smoothly and seamlessly. A thorough check-up of the blades might yet again be necessary.

  • Need for a reset

The entire system needs to be reset from time to time. If this is not done, the flywheel might never operate as hassle-free as it may naturally be anticipated to. The problem may also be brought about by a defective switch in the gadget that may result from wear and tear.

  • Wear and tear

Any gadget will usually lose its vitality with time. The garbage disposal is definitely no exception to this otherwise universal rule. Any signs of extreme wear and tear may generally pose the gadget incapable of tackling the tasks of shredding the debris and possibly stalling altogether. A complete replacement might be necessary under this circumstance.

  • Clogged grinder unit

It is the grinding unit that tackles the precise task of shredding the debris into its finest particles. Any clogs in the system might often affect the smooth rotation and the unit’s inner workings altogether. This issue may be prevented by dumping only moderate amounts of loads in the unit.

  • Tripped circuit breaker

In the garbage disposal’s electrical components, there is usually the circuit breaker that acts to prevent the system from experiencing power surges and the circuit blow-outs. Any fault in this part may also always bring about the humming noise that the item from time to time yields.

Q2. How much does it cost to fix a garbage disposal?

The exact cost of fixing a garbage disposal unit varies greatly with the location where the said establishment is, the scope of the work, and the technician’s degree of expertise that is called upon to do the job. As such, there is no universal amount of money that the exercise might cost.

Nonetheless, you should expect to part with no less than $250 in total to tackle the chore. To be on the safe side, we ask you to negotiate the prices and time for your repairs to coincide with the peak sales seasons when you are naturally bound to accrue hotter discounts.

Q3. What tools do I need to repair a garbage disposal?

If you choose to go it alone, you need the following tools to actualize the process: clamp, cup plunger, bucket, garbage disposal wrench, hex key, and a screwdriver. Additionally, you will also require some protective gear like aprons, face masks, overalls, goggles, and a pair of gloves to keep you safe.

Q4. Where is the reset button on garbage disposal?

In most models, this button is found right at the bottom or at the unit’s lower back. You must check your manufacturer’s manual to find out where exactly the button is found in your machine. That stems from the fact that different manufacturers choose to place it in unique locations.

Q5. What does resetting garbage disposal do?

When a garbage disposal unit is reset, it basically turns off automatically and starts again independently of your input. The button comes in handy when the system is jammed or might be experiencing a huge volume of load and is thus improperly working. Learn to use it wisely as its overuse may ruin your appliance.



Alright! Our peek into how to repair garbage disposal comes to an end there. We can now only ask you to proceed from where we have left and implement the provisions you have generously received wisely. As you may see, this garbage disposal is a sensitive appliance that requires a fairer degree of attention from you.