As a homeowner, who has a disposal in his or her home, you’ll have a few additional responsibilities. Although garbage disposal manufacturers go above and beyond to enhance the reliability and longevity of their products, problems can occur and they’ll do so unexpectedly.
Although there are a few problems, which cannot be rectified by the consumer, others can be fixed fairly easily. Rectifying a clogged or leaking disposal isn’t overly difficult and you should be able to pull it off on your own, without the assistance of a licensed plumber.
Below, you’ll learn how to fix both of these problems, so you can get your disposal up and running as quickly as possible.
Although waste disposals are mostly safe, there are still some precautions that should be taken, before you begin working on yours. First and foremost, it is essential to make sure the unit is switched off and unplugged, if possible. At the same time, you should be very careful around the disposal’s blades.
The blades are incredibly shape and they’ll certainly pierce through flesh. It is best to avoid putting your fingers near the blades, but if you must do so, you should at least wear protective gloves.
How To Unclog A Garbage Disposer
Once you’ve diagnosed the problem and have confirmed you’re dealing with a clog, it is time to take action. This is undoubtedly one of the most common problems consumers will face and usually occurs when too much is added to the disposal too quickly.
Of course, a clog may very well be caused by a malfunctioning motor. The good news is that calling a plumber is not always a necessity. Below, you’ll find tips for unclogging the disposal without paying a plumber a substantial amount of money.
First Things First
First and foremost, it is essential to confirm that you’re indeed working with a clog. Press the start button and listen closely. Can you hear the motor hum and attempt to turn? If so, the motor is in good shape and is not the problem.
Now, take a flashlight and illuminate the interior portion of the disposal. Can you see what is clogging the drain? The drain may become clogged, due to consistent use, an overload, or a foreign object falling inside.
Try Flushing It Out
Before taking extreme action, it is wise to try and flush out the disposal with water. This is the best way to proceed, if you’re dealing with a food blockage or an invaluable object has unfortunately fallen into the drain. Calling a plumber is a necessity, if a valuable item has fallen inside.
A powerful burst of water should be enough to dislodge the clog and send the food remnants down the drain. If this doesn’t work, you may need to try plunging the sink.
Manually Turn The Blades
In most cases, the blades of the disposal can be turned manually. This will usually require an Allen wrench. Insert the wrench into the designated spot at the bottom of the disposal and give it a turn.
This will turn the blades and potentially break up and free the materials causing the clog. Once the blades move freely without any resistance, you should run the water at a high velocity to finish the job.
How To Fix A Leaking Garbage Disposal
Although the clogged disposal is undeniably more common, a leaky disposal is far worse and much messier. As soon as a water leak is spotted, you’ll want to carefully examine the disposal to make sure it is indeed the source of the problem.
Feel around the disposal with your hands and use a flashlight to pinpoint the source of the leak. If the leak is severe, it may be best to replace it with a new one.
Garbage disposals are only designed to last for so many years, so if you’re dealing with an older model, a replacement may be your best choice. If not, continue below to find a possible solution.
Check The Pipes
In some cases, it may not be the disposal that is leaking. It could be a pipe, which is leading to or from the unit. If the leak is coming from one of the PVC pipes, you’ll need to secure it more tightly or replace it all together. Before attempting to do so, it is essential to shut off the water to prevent a mess.
Be sure to tighten all connections as securely as possible, before turning the water back on. Monitor the problematic area and make sure the leak has stopped, before finishing the job.
The Disposal’s Connection To The Sink
You should also check the portion of the disposal that connects to the sink. In order to take a look, you will need to turn the disposal and loosen it from the sink connection. This connection is generally sealed with Plumber’s putty.
Over a period of time, the putty can dry out and become cracked. This could very well be your primary problem. Try adding new putty to the connect and reconnecting the disposal to the sink.
Has this fixed the problem? If so, you’re good to go! If you’re unable to diagnose and fix the problem on your own, you may need to call a plumber.
Your Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On
If your disposal refuses to turn on, you’ve likely got a bigger problem on your hands. Before calling a professional or replacing the unit, you should check the list below.
- Is the power cord plugged in securely?
- Has the circuit breaking been popped?
- Has the disposal shut off for safety reasons? If so, you may need to hit the reset button. Hitting the reset button and restarting the unit may resolve your problem.
- Did something get stuck in the disposal and has it caused the power to trip?
There are numerous problems, which could prevent your disposal from turning on properly. If you’ve been unable to fix the problem using the list above, it is possible that the complexity of the situation is out of grasp. In this type of situation, it is best to hire a professional or try replacing the disposal.