Garbage Disposal Woes

Your disposal is more than a noise making device hidden in you sink cabinet. It is a useful device used many times a day by homeowners. Many people abuse their disposals, by throwing all types of waste into them and do not realize the potential damage that can be done.

First you should try to avoid throwing the following items into your disposal:

  • Bones
  • Shells from seafood
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Anything that is fibrous or stringy such as celery, banana skins, corn husks
  • Egg shells, which are commonly thought to be good for cleaning your blades are not good (unless you are careful to remove the thin membrane inside the egg shell, which can wrap around the disposal blades.

Many of us are guilty of putting things we shouldn’t into the garbage disposal causing it to “seize up” or become stuck.  Below are two easy things you can try to clear the obstruction.

  1. There is a red reset/circuit breaker button located on the bottom of most units. If this button has popped out it will stop power going to the motor. Press this button back in. Try the disposal again; if it works, Great! If not, move on to step two.
  2. There is a place in the bottom center of the disposal, where you can use an Allen wrench to manually turn the motor.  You probably don’t have the hex key that came with your disposal, so you might want to invest in an Allen Wrench Set.  I personally like the kind that fits in your pocket and the wrenches fold out much like a Swiss army knife.  Figure out which size Allen wrench/hex key you need and use it to turn the motor a few turns to get it unstuck. Remove the Allen wrench and try to run the disposal again. This may need to be repeated numerous times to clear the debris from the disposal.

Firebelly Renovations provides Handyman services and many times we have been called in to replace a garbage disposals only to find that it could be easily fixed using the above tips.  If you have tried the steps above and your garbage disposal still isn’t working, call us at 703-635-7722 to replace it for you.