Over the lifetime of one’s disposal unit, this is bound to happen every once in a while. Here are some things you can do yourself to see if you can fix it yourself before you call us.
When you turn on the switch can you hear the unit hum? If so, immediately turn off the switch. Your disposal is jammed. Many times you can clear it yourself.
The installer should have left you an hex-key, possibly adhered to the unit. It looks like an “S” with 45-degree angles instead of curves. In virtually every disposal, there is a receiver for the hex-key in the epicenter of the base of the disposal. Simply insert the key and turn the key, which in turn spins the motor. It may be very stiff, but once it breaks free, your disposal is unjammed. Now, remove the key, and with the faucet on, flowing into the mouth of the disposal, turn the switch on. You may hear an uncomfortable grinding and rattle. If the jam is caused by a piece of metal, like a coin or screw, it will jam again. Turn off the disposal and call us.
If you turn the disposal on and you hear nothing, it is not getting power. On the bottom of most disposals, there is a reset button. If you have a wall switch, place it in the off position. If you have an air-switch, unplug the unit. Now, find the small reset button which will be extended below the disposal and push it in. If you hear the click and it doesn’t snap back out, you have restored power.
Now, quickly cycle the disposal by quickly turning it on and off. If it sounds like its chewing up debris, turn it back on with water and let it do its thing. If it hums but doesn’t spin, immediately shut off the switch and see paragraph 3. If you have an air-switch, plug it in then pull it out quickly. If the switch is on, you will see a spark from the outlet as it draws current. This is normal and nothing to be afraid of. If it sparked, operated or hummed, depress the air-switch so that it is now in the ‘off’ position and plug the disposal back in. Nothing will happen. Now you can test it from a comfortable position above the sink.
Turn on the water and depress the button. If it hums, immediately turn it off and see paragraph 3. If it spins and sounds like normal operation, let it do its thing.
If you’ve reset the breaker on the bottom of the disposal and nothing happens when tested, then either no power is getting to the unit or the motor is dead. If its plugged in, then check the breaker in your electrical panel. If its tripped, reset it and try again. If still no power, then you’ll need to call us. See you soon.
Incline Village Home Repair and Remodel has been trusted by Realtors and property managers in Incline Village for well over 25 years. Most of the work is comprised of plumbing and electrical service work along with escrow repair punch-lists. Prior to that, the owner, Dave, trained with various electrical and plumbing contractors here in Incline and elsewhere on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. Dave obtained a business degree from Sierra Nevada College, where he also worked as a classical guitar instructor. Dave worked in large scale construction in Southern California building schools and large apartment complexes.