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Garbage Disposal Not Working: 6 Problems & Solutions


Is your garbage disposal acting up and causing a hassle in your Salt Lake City, UT kitchen? A malfunctioning garbage disposal can disrupt your daily routine and create unwelcome odors. Knowing what you can do to problem solve the issue yourself first is helpful, but also knowing when to call a professional plumber is essential to getting your garbage disposal up and running.

Problem: Your garbage disposal is not turning on or makes a humming sound.

Solution: Start by turning off the disposal and disconnecting the power. Use an Allen wrench (hex key) to manually rotate the disposal's flywheel from the bottom, freeing any obstructions causing the jam. Once cleared, restore power and press the reset button on the disposal to reset it.

  1. Leaking Garbage Disposal

Problem: You notice water leaking from your disposal unit.

Solution: Check for loose connections or cracks in the disposal unit, sink flange, or dishwasher hose. Tighten loose connections and replace damaged parts as needed, such as the rubber gasket or disposal unit itself.

  1. Foul Odors from the Garbage Disposal

Problem: Your garbage disposal emits unpleasant odors.

Solution: Run ice cubes, citrus peels, or baking soda and vinegar through the disposal to help eliminate odor-causing bacteria. Regularly grinding ice cubes can also help clean the disposal blades.

  1. Garbage Disposal Won't Turn On

Problem: The disposal doesn’t start when you flip the switch.

Solution: Check the circuit breaker or fuse box to ensure the disposal has power. If the power supply is fine, press the reset button located at the bottom or side of the disposal unit. If it still doesn't work, it may require professional inspection for wiring or motor issues.

  1. Slow Draining Garbage Disposal

Problem: Water and waste are slow to drain from the disposal.

Solution: Run cold water while running the disposal to help flush out debris. Avoid putting large or fibrous food items (like potato peels or coffee grounds) down the disposal, as these can cause clogs. Consider using a disposal cleaner periodically to prevent buildup.

  1. Strange Noises from the Garbage Disposal

Problem: Your garbage disposal makes unusual grinding or metallic noises.

Solution: Turn off the disposal immediately if you hear unusual sounds, as this might indicate a serious issue. Check for foreign objects or debris inside the disposal that could be causing the noise. If the problem persists, call a professional plumber for inspection and repairs.

A well-functioning garbage disposal is essential for a smoothly running kitchen. However, when issues arise, troubleshooting these common problems can often resolve the situation. For more complex issues or if you're uncertain about handling the problem, seek professional assistance. Towers Plumbing offers expert garbage disposal installation and repair services in Salt Lake City, UT. Contact us for reliable solutions to all your garbage disposal woes, ensuring your kitchen stays clean and functional.