Garbage Disposal: E-Z Fixes

And When Replacement Is Needed

wolverine brass the beast garbage disposal

Al’s sells & Installs WolverineBrass Garbage Disposals

Check These Things Before Calling For

Garbage Disposal Replacement

If your garbage disposal suddenly stops working, it does not necessarily have to be replaced.  We have detailed several easy fixes below.  Try these before calling for a replacement.

1. Disposal Does Nothing:  Check to see if  GFCI OUTLET  Has Tripped

The GFCI Outlet (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) is as Safety-Device to protect you (from shock) beyond what a Circuit-Breaker can.  It trips very easily, in order to protect you from shock.   GFCI outlets are located whereever an outlet is within reach of a water source.

gfci outlet that has tripped and needs reset  If the GFCI Outlet has tripped the upper button will be sticking out the farthest.

gfci outlet with reset and test button identified  All GFCI Outlets work the same.  The upper button Resets it, and the lower button Tests (trips) it.

GFCI outlet with green light lit gfci outlet that has tripped and needs reset GFCI outlet with red light lit

Some GFCI have lights.  Green = Working.   Light out, or color other than green = Tripped

2. Unit Does Nothing:  Check to see if  CIRCUIT-BREAKER  Has Tripped

photo of interior of a circuit breaker box


Some Circuit-Breaker trip all the way — others barely move. Locate the breaker for the disposal and trip it as far as it will go in each direction. When it’s set ON, it matches the others on that side of the panel.

3. Unit Does Nothing:  Check to see if  IT HAS COME UNPLUGGED  under the sink

photo under sink showing disposer plugged into an outlet

Many disposals are plugged into an outlet under the sink.

 4. Unit Does Nothing:  Press The RESET BUTTON on the bottom of unit

garbage disposer reset button

5. Disposal Hums, But Does Not Turn: Check To See If It’s Jammed

photo of wrench to unjam disposal

A Hexagon (6-sided) wrench inserts into the bottom of disposal at the center.  Turn wrench counter clockwise to see if disposer is jammed.

If it is, apply more pressure to see if you can unjam it.

Or Watch The Movie.  A YouTube Video demonstrating common fixes.  E Z Disposal Fixes


6. Disposal Is Draining Slowly: Try having it do a “Power-Flush” 

water going down disposer

  • Fill the sink 1/2 full with cold tap water.
  • Remove the plug and switch on the disposal.
  • If the line is only partially clogged, the disposer should clear the line.  It may make a lot of noise while doing this.
  • Once the water is gone, switch disposal off.
  • Note: If the water comes up the other side, the drain is clogged and must be cleared.

disposal water backing up into other side of the sink


If none of these problems exist, or the fix presented does not correct the problem, the disposal likely needs replaced.  As with every component with your home, a garbage disposal eventually wears out.


Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C sells and installs new garbage disposals.  Al’s also provides every plumbing repair or replacement any home ever needs.

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C also: maintains, repairs or replaces all brands of: Central Air Conditioners, Heat Pumps, and Gas & Electric Furnaces.  Al’s sells installed new HVAC Systems from: American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (an American Standard company) and Coleman HVAC (made by the same company as York HVAC).

Call Al’s today with any concerns or problems you have with your home’s plumbing or HVAC System.   We can often provide same-day service, or service at a time convenient for you.  Al’s also has 24/7 Emergency Service.